- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. jails reporter for talking to Taliban

KABUL — A media advocacy group says a journalist with Canadian television station CTV has been held without charge by the U.S. military in Afghanistan since October.

Jawed Ahmad, an Afghan who worked for the network, is being held at the military compound in Bagram north of Kabul.

His brother, Siddique Ahmad, says he is accused of having improper contact with Taliban officials because he had Taliban phone numbers and a video of Taliban materials.

The U.S. military confirmed Mr. Ahmad’s detention but declined to comment on the case.

BELGIUM

Thieves steal reliquary cross

BRUSSELS — Thieves have stolen a 1,000-year-old gold and gem-encrusted Byzantine Cross from the cathedral in the Belgian city of Tournai, authorities said yesterday.

The robbers attacked church attendants and a few tourists Monday before crashing through protective glass to take the cross and several other 17th-century artifacts, city officials said.

The cross is said to contain a relic from the original cross of Jerusalem. So valuable, it is ensured for $37 million when removed for services or celebrations and is so well known it will be impossible for the thieves to sell.

KENYA

State airline suspends flights

NAIROBI — Kenya’s flagship airline suspended flights between Nairobi and Paris yesterday due to the dwindling number of passengers flying to this once-stable African nation, the latest economic fallout from a violent political crisis.

Kenya’s wildlife and beaches have made it one of Africa’s most-popular travel destinations, but there has been a major drop in visitors — and the money they bring in — since results of a Dec. 27 election unleashed weeks of violence in which more than 1,000 people have been killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday increased pressure on Kenya’s rival politicians to share power, but there were no immediate signs of a deal at deadlocked peace talks, which resumed yesterday.

POLAND

Communist leader sick with pneumonia

WARSAW — Poland’s last communist leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, was hospitalized with pneumonia and heart problems, a report said yesterday.

Gen. Jaruzelski, 84, has been in a Warsaw hospital for the past week and is in serious condition, the head of his office, Grazyna Rogowska, told the Polish news agency PAP.

The general, who has had health problems in recent years, is a divisive figure in Poland for his decision to impose martial law on Dec. 13, 1981, to crack down on the fledgling Solidarity free-trade union led by Lech Walesa. He later became president.

SOMALIA

Troops battle rebels in capital

MOGADISHU — Heavy fighting killed at least six persons in the Somali capital overnight, sparking search operations by government troops and their Ethiopian allies, witnesses said yesterday.

Local resident Asha Yusuf said he saw four soldiers among the dead.

The insurgents could be seen firing rocket-propelled grenades at one of the city’s main intersections before the fighting became heavier, residents said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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