- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2008

BELARUS

Security agents detain journalists

MINSK — Security agents detained at least 16 journalists in Belarus and searched their homes and offices for materials that reportedly libel authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, activists said yesterday.

A Polish-funded radio broadcaster said 20 of its Belorussian employees had been detained. The Belarusian Journalists’ Association counted at least 16 journalists who had been summoned for questioning by the KGB — the country’s top security agency — or had their apartments searched.

The State Department put the number at 30 journalists detained in 12 cities.

SERBIA

World Court opinion sought on Kosovo

BELGRADE — Serbia hopes to challenge Kosovo’s declaration of independence by asking the International Court of Justice about its legality, officials said yesterday.

Belgrade will seek the court’s nonbinding advisory opinion about whether the Feb. 17 declaration of independence by Kosovo’s parliament was a breach of international law, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told independent B92 television.

But in order to do that, Belgrade would have to persuade a majority of U.N. member states to vote to make such a request to the World Court in The Hague, which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations.

EGYPT

Editor jailed for stories on Mubarak

CAIRO — A journalist who reported on the president’s purported health problems was sentenced to six months in prison, which rights groups criticized yesterday as media harassment by the government.

Ibrahim Eissa, 42, is the editor of the Al-Dustour newspaper and one of the most outspoken critics of President Hosni Mubarak and his government.

Judge Sherif Mustafa said Wednesday that the articles, published over a series of days in August, caused investors to withdraw their money from the country, the stock market to collapse and the economy to decline.

COMOROS

France pressed to extradite rebel

MORONI — Comoros demanded yesterday that France hand over a rebel leader wanted by the Indian Ocean archipelago for crimes against humanity and troops fired tear gas to stop protests against the former colonial power.

Mohamed Bacar, the 45-year-old self-declared leader of Anjouan island, fled to nearby French-run Mayotte during a lightning offensive by African Union and Comorian forces. The French government said he has asked for political asylum.

France, along with the United States, backed the operation to topple Bacar, a former gendarme who seized power in 2001 and clung on with an illegal election last year in Anjouan — one of Comoros’ three islands.

BRITAIN

New terminal opens at Heathrow

LONDON — Heathrow Airport’s gleaming Terminal 5 opened yesterday, launching operations with an early morning arrival of a flight from Hong Kong.

The $8.6 billion terminal, able to handle 30 million passengers per year, will be used exclusively by British Airways, which is moving many of its flights from the run-down, congested airport’s other terminals to the new building.

A coalition of environmental protesters opposed to the further expansion of the sprawling airport plans a silent demonstration inside the terminal building to draw attention to its impact on climate change and noise pollution.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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