- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2008


Weakened storm may brush island

HAMILTON | Bertha weakened Sunday into a tropical storm as it hovered near Bermuda, but forecasters say it might still deal a glancing blow to the Atlantic island.

Bertha’s outer bands expected to brush the island in the coming days.

Over the weekend, most tourists chose to hang out in pools and walk along the beach instead of battle the storm-whipped surf and rip currents along Bermuda’s southern coast. Signs were posted announcing that beaches are closed.

“You can go out and swim if you like, but lifeguards will not come out and get you,” said Darnell Joell, a bartender at Coco Reef resort.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm’s maximum sustained winds decreased to about 70 mph. Bertha was centered about 220 miles southeast of Bermuda.


Suspect held in attack on U.S.

ISTANBUL | A Turkish court on Sunday ordered a man to be held in custody over an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in which six people were killed, the state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

The court ordered that the man, identified only as Dursun P., be held on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist group while prosecutors continued questioning nine other people and prepared an indictment.

Two people were released but might still face prosecution, Anatolian said.

The suspects were being questioned about Wednesday’s attack in which three police officers and three attackers were killed when gunmen opened fire on security personnel at the entrance to the high-security consulate complex.

A man suspected to have driven the car used by the attackers was detained Thursday.

Police were investigating possible al Qaeda involvement - newspapers said the gunmen received weapons training in Afghanistan. Some security experts were skeptical about an al Qaeda link, given the small scale and amateurish nature of the attack.


Afghan, Iraq wars stress armed forces

LONDON | Britain’s armed forces cannot maintain their level of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq indefinitely, the head of the armed forces said Sunday.

And the international commitment in Afghanistan would have to last “decades” if it was to be successful, he said.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the chief of the defense staff, confirmed British troop numbers in Basra, southern Iraq, would come down during 2009.

Britain currently has about 7,800 soldiers based in Afghanistan, a figure soon set to rise to 8,000. It has another 4,000 in Iraq.

“We are structured and resourced for a certain level of commitment on an enduring basis,” Marshal Stirrup told BBC TV regarding the dual commitment.


Rulers warn against indictment by ICC

KHARTOUM | Sudan’s ruling party warned Sunday there will be more violence in Darfur if the country’s president is indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide as hundreds of people rallied in Khartoum to show their support for the longtime leader.

A prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is expected to seek an arrest warrant Monday charging President Omar al-Bashir with orchestrating violence in Darfur that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead since 2003.

In Sudan, the ruling National Congress Party called the case against the Lt. Gen. Bashir “irresponsible cheap political blackmail” that has no legal basis, according to a statement from the party that was broadcast on state TV. It also warned there would be “more violence and blood” in Darfur if an arrest warrant is issued against the president, TV reported.

Lt. Gen. Bashir huddled with Cabinet ministers and advisers Sunday, weighing how the government would response to any action taken by the ICC. Sudan has also asked the Arab League for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

Outside the meeting, hundreds of Sudanese, many carrying flags and pro-government banners, demonstrated to show their support for Lt. Gen. Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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