Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Intelligence report on Iraq released

LONDON — Britain’s Foreign Office yesterday released an early version of a 2002 dossier of prewar intelligence on Iraq that became vital to Tony Blair’s case for war.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband published a draft of the document on Iraq’s weapons capabilities following a request under Freedom of Information laws.

The document includes references to intelligence claims that Iraq had acquired uranium and had equipment necessary to produce chemical weapons.

But the file does not contain a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes — a charge that was later discredited but became crucial to Mr. Blair’s push to back the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.


Road to sainthood to become tougher

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is making it tougher to become a saint.

New procedures were announced yesterday calling for more “rigor” and “sobriety” by bishops when deciding to begin the process of beatification and in determining the required miracles.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican’s sainthood office, recently suggested that the Vatican was overwhelmed by causes following the pontificate of the late Pope John Paul II, who elevated more people to sainthood than all his predecessors combined.


Deal reported in Fujimori trial

LIMA — An imprisoned former member of a military death squad said yesterday in the murder and kidnapping trial of Alberto Fujimori that he was offered a lighter sentence to testify against the former Peruvian president.

Mr. Fujimori is facing up to 30 years in prison for purportedly authorizing the death squad to kill 25 persons in two 1990s massacres. The squad was formed to kill subversives in Peru’s war against Maoist Shining Path rebels.

Defense witness Angel Pino Diaz said that while he awaited trial in 2001, he received a message through a jailed naval officer that he would receive a seven-year sentence if he testified that Mr. Fujimori was at the top of the military command, and therefore authorized the squad’s actions.


Police capture top mafia boss

ROME — Police yesterday captured the top boss of a powerful organized crime syndicate whose clan feuds have bloodied southern Italy for years, authorities said yesterday.

Pasquale Condello, 57, was arrested in an apartment in the center of the regional capital, Reggio Calabria, after nearly two decades as a fugitive, police said. There was a pistol in the residence, but Mr. Condello offered no resistance, police said.

Mr. Condello was known as “the supreme one” for his reported role at the top of the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate. He was No. 2 on the police list of Italy’s most dangerous fugitives, the Apcom news agency said.


Palestinians sent to Gaza

ISMAILIA — Egypt has deported about 350 Palestinians, rounded up in North Sinai over the past four days, to Gaza, security sources told Reuters news agency yesterday.

“The Salaheddin border gate was opened this evening, and the Palestinians were transported in buses to the city of Rafah and then to Gaza,” one security source said.

Egyptian security forces said earlier that police had rounded up about 500 Palestinians and was holding them at a youth hostel in the provincial capital El Arish.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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