- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2008

IRAQ

Cleric: Muslims mustobey West’s laws

MONTREAL — Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has sent a message to Muslims in Western nations, urging them to obey the laws of the countries in which they live.

The fatwa was delivered at a Montreal press conference of prominent Shi’ite Muslims on behalf of the ayatollah, the Washington-based Center for Islamic Pluralism reported yesterday.

“Muslims have undertaken to obey the laws of the country of their residence and thus they must be faithful to that undertaking,” the fatwa said.

It condemned all acts of violence and encouraged imams to keep a watchful eye on what’s going on inside their mosques.

NORTH KOREA

U.S. orchestra arrives for concert

PYONGYANG — The New York Philharmonic yesterday became the most prominent U.S. cultural institution to visit isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea, and orchestra members said they hoped their musical diplomacy could bring the two nations closer together.

North Korea made unprecedented accommodations for the orchestra, allowing a delegation of nearly 300 people, including musicians, staff and journalists, to fly into Pyongyang on a chartered plane for the 48-hour visit.

The philharmonic’s concert Tuesday will be broadcast live on North Korea’s state-run TV and radio, unheard of in a country where events are carefully choreographed to bolster the personality cult of leader Kim Jong-il.

IRAN

Talks begin on sanctions

Representatives from six major powers began talks in Washington yesterday to consider new sanctions aimed at convincing Iran to halt sensitive uranium-enrichment work, a State Department spokesman said.

In Vienna, Austria, the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency presented documents yesterday that diplomats said indicate Iran may have focused on a nuclear-weapons program after 2003 — the year that a U.S. intelligence report says such work stopped.

BRITAIN

Skull unearthed at former orphanage

LONDON — Police used dogs to search for more bodies yesterday at a former children’s home on the British island of Jersey after a child’s skull was found under a concrete slab there.

The skull was found Saturday by a police dog in an investigation of the property, which was a home for orphaned and abandoned children until 1986. Forensic experts have determined the remains are at least 20 years old.

CYPRUS

Turks optimistic about reunification

NICOSIA — The decades-long division of Cyprus could be resolved by the end of the year, the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots said yesterday.

The remarks were made a day after Greek Cypriots elected Dimitris Christofias as president after he campaigned on a pledge to quickly restart long-stalled talks to reunify the island.

Cyprus has been divided into a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot north and a Greek-Cypriot south since 1974, when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup attempting to unite the island with Greece.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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