- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2008

SYRIA

Bush orders new sanctions

President Bush ordered new sanctions yesterday to punish Syria for its purported efforts to undermine stability in Iraq and undercut Lebanon’s sovereignty and democracy.

Mr. Bush, in an executive order, said he was expanding penalties against senior government officials in Syria and their associates deemed to be responsible for — or to have benefited from — public corruption. The order did not specifically name any officials.

The White House said the order built on one Mr. Bush issued in May 2004 that banned all U.S. exports to Syria except for food and medicine.

IRAQ

CBS interpreter freed in Basra

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi interpreter for CBS News kidnapped in Basra was freed yesterday, but a British journalist remained in captivity, police said.

The interpreter was handed over to authorities at the same hotel where he was seized in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, Police Brig. Gen. Shamkhi Jassim said.

The director of radical Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s office in Basra said negotiations were continuing for the British journalist’s release. Iraqi police and witnesses said the two were seized Sunday from a hotel in Basra. CBS News said Monday that two journalists working for it were missing in Basra, but it did not identify them.

CHINA

Hollywood movie blocked, official says

HONG KONG — China has blocked a Hollywood movie reportedly starring John Cusack and Gong Li from being shot in the country because of concerns about the script, a film official said yesterday.

Luan Guozhi, director of international cooperation at China’s Film Bureau, declined to reveal the government’s concerns about the story for “Shanghai,” but said the filmmakers could make changes and reapply.

“Shanghai” is about an American who investigates his friend’s death in World War II-era Japanese-occupied Shanghai.

GREECE

Strike shuts down schools, hospitals

ATHENS — Thousands of demonstrators marched through Athens and Thessaloniki yesterday to protest social security reforms as a Greek general strike shut down schools, hospitals and all public services.

Port workers and air traffic controllers joined the second 24-hour general strike in about two months, forcing authorities to cancel all flights to and from Greek airports, and all regular ferry routes to the islands. Buses, trains and the Athens metro were running only for a few hours during the day.

Dentists, lawyers, construction workers and civil servants also walked off the job. Journalists went on strike, canceling all news bulletins and current affairs programs for the day.

CAMBODIA

Eight Khmer Rouge suspects to be tried

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s genocide tribunal expects to try up to eight suspects over the Khmer Rouge’s brutal rule, while seeking to nearly double its staffing levels to 530, according to a tribunal planning document.

The cap on the number of prosecutions was noted in a document that outlines the tribunal’s proposal to increase its budget to $170 million — a sharp increase from the original $56.3 million.

The document with the revised budget estimate was obtained yesterday by the Associated Press.

ITALY

Warrants issued in mafia sweep

ROME — Police raided sites in Calabria yesterday and issued arrest warrants for 57 persons — including politicians, bankers and businessmen — in the latest mafia sweep targeting drug trafficking and extortion rackets.

A local mayor and a tourism official were among those detained in early morning raids, Italy’s ANSA and Apcom news agencies reported.

The raids were focused on the southern region of Calabria and Umbria, in central Italy, the Carabinieri paramilitary police said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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