- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

GERMANY

Olmert to stress Iran during visit

BERLIN — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began a visit to Germany yesterday to lobby for tougher measures against Iran to curb a nuclear program he has called a threat to Israel’s existence.

“The issues we will discuss in Germany are important for Israel’s security,” Mr. Olmert told reporters en route to Berlin. An Israeli official said the time had come “to upgrade the economic and diplomatic pressure” on Iran.

Germany traditionally has been among the top exporters to Iran.

BRITAIN

Oil rig bomb scare called false alarm

LONDON — A bomb scare that prompted the military to begin airlifting workers from a North Sea oil rig yesterday was a false alarm, police said.

Helicopters had begun evacuating workers from the Safe Scandinavia oil platform 170 miles off the coast of Aberdeen in eastern Scotland in response to a security alert from the rig at about 9:30 a.m., officials said. The operation was called off at about 2 p.m. Nearly 100 workers of the 539 employees on the rig had been evacuated, police in Scotland said.

NORWAY

Embassy closed in Afghanistan

OSLO — Norway closed its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday because of “terror threats,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Kristin Melsom said the embassy was closed until further notice.

Norway has been named at least twice by al Qaeda as a nation that should be targeted because of deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaeda has urged Muslims to seek revenge for cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that appeared in several European publications. Norway, Denmark and France were named as countries that should be targeted

FRANCE

Sarkozy protege dumped from election

PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy’s protege for the mayoral race in his longtime political fief, the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly, was sidelined from the contest yesterday to ward off an embarrassing defeat in next month’s municipal election.

Sarkozy spokesman David Martinon has been heading the right-wing UMP list in Neuilly, where Mr. Sarkozy was mayor, with the full backing of the president.

On Saturday, Le Figaro newspaper published a secret poll that showed Mr. Martinon losing to a local rival.

BULGARIA

Foreign workers sought for projects

SOFIA — Bulgaria will employ highly skilled workers from abroad to make up for a shortage of qualified workers needed for planned energy and road projects, the government said yesterday.

“The government coalition decided to open the Bulgarian labor market in order to find qualified workers for the big infrastructure projects” in the energy and road sector, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Emilia Maslarova said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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