Thursday, February 21, 2008


Rally in capital to vent on Kosovo

BELGRADE — Serbia plans to stage a mass protest rally in Belgrade today against Kosovo’s declaration of independence, underlining Serb anger at the loss of their religious heartland.

But analysts say it would be wrong to interpret Serbia’s reaction as a return to the virulent nationalism that stoked war in the Balkans in the 1990s under the leadership of the then-President Slobodan Milosevic.

Although Kosovo is an emotional issue for them, the bitterness felt by Serbs does not alter the fact that more than 70 percent see their future in the European Union.


Incoming president cleared of fraud

SEOUL — A special prosecutor cleared South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak of financial-fraud charges today, allowing him to take office next week with his mandate untarnished.

The announcement ended a probe over suspicions that Mr. Lee colluded in a 2001 stock case, a controversy that plagued him throughout last year’s campaign.

“The president-elect was not involved in the stock-price manipulation,” special prosecutor Chung Ho-young said in a televised announcement of the outcome of a 38-day investigation.


Intelligence agency denies killing Diana

LONDON — The former head of MI6 denied yesterday that the British intelligence agency is responsible for killing Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, in 1997.

Richard Dearlove, who was MI6’s director of special operations at the time of Diana’s Paris death, testified at the inquest into the pair’s death that he also thought an operation by rogue agents would have been impossible.

Mr. Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, accused MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, of engineering the death of his son and the princess at the behest of Prince Philip.


U.S. rights group official denied visa

MOSCOW — The executive director of Human Rights Watch said yesterday he was denied a visa to enter Russia, where he was to present a report accusing the Kremlin of using onerous regulations to block the work of independent activist groups.

Speaking to reporters by telephone from New York, Kenneth Roth said Russian authorities cited “a changing array of technical reasons” for denying the visa.


Sarkozy’s son, 21, enters politics

PARIS — The son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy took the first step toward a political career yesterday, announcing he will seek a local council seat in his father’s former fiefdom.

Jean Sarkozy, 21, told the Le Figaro newspaper he will seek endorsement of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, to be councilor in the town of Neuilly-sur-Seine.


Tibetan language neglected, group says

BEIJING — The Chinese government is neglecting and actively undermining the Tibetan language as part of continuing efforts to dilute the region’s unique culture, a human rights group said today.

Schools are forcing Tibetan children to learn China’s national language, Mandarin, at a younger and younger age and are failing to support the use of Tibetan in official fields, the Free Tibet Campaign said in a new report.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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