- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2008


Funding falls short to fix Kaiser church

BERLIN | The jagged silhouette and smashed spire of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church make it one of Berlin’s most familiar symbols of World War II bombing. But it’s in desperate need of repair, and a campaign to raise funds to fix it has fallen short of its goals.

Instead of being torn down or repaired, the half-ruin that became known as the “Hollow Tooth” was left standing as a reminder of war’s destructive force.

But experts warn that its crumbling walls could become a danger to the more than 1 million visitors a year who stroll through its wrecked splendor.

Restorers say they only have about half the money they need to keep the church open.


Calls in Labor grow for Brown to resign

LONDON | The calls for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to face a leadership contest grew Sunday as former ministers attacked his performance and more party members backed a showdown.

The mutiny against Mr. Brown gathered pace less than 48 hours after a member of his government for the first time broke ranks and called for a challenge to his stewardship of the ruling Labor Party.

Those who have spoken out so far are hoping that their numbers will snowball before the party’s annual conference kicks off on Saturday. All eyes are on whether a big-name Cabinet figure will join their bandwagon.

Anyone wishing to challenge for the leadership has to gain the support of 20 percent of Labor lawmakers - currently 71 - and seek nomination before the party conference, giving rebels a tight time frame for maximizing the pressure on Mr. Brown.

Labor has slumped in the polls in the 15 months since Mr. Brown was elected unopposed to succeed Tony Blair, and many members of Parliament in seats that could fall to the opposition are worried about their prospects, with a general election due within 20 months.


Judgment due on Bosnian general

THE HAGUE | The United Nation’s Yugoslav war crimes court will pass judgment Monday on Rasim Delic, one of the most senior Muslim military men to be charged for abuses committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

The ex-commander of the Bosnian army has pleaded not guilty before The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to murder and cruel treatment of Bosnian Croats and Serbs at the hands of his troops.

The prosecution seeks a 15-year jail term for the 59-year-old ex-general over the killing of at least 74 people and the mistreatment of others between June 1993 and September 1995 - some of them civilians and some prisoners of war.

The crimes were reportedly committed by Muslim extremist fighters, including many Arab fighters, who formed a unit of the Bosnian army.

Gen. Delic is one of comparatively few Muslims to be indicted by the tribunal, which is frequently accused of partiality by Serbia.

Gen. Delic surrendered to the court in February 2005. He was granted release from the tribunal’s custody in May that year, returning in June last year - a month before the start of the trial.


Pilgrims remember Virgin Mary apparition

SILUVA | Tens of thousands of pilgrims from Lithuania and beyond have descended on this tiny town to celebrate the “apparition” of the Virgin Mary 400 years ago, predating even the better-known miracles at Lourdes and Fatima.

Historically, Siluva in central Lithuania has been a focal point not only for Roman Catholics but also for Lithuanian national and cultural identity during decades of brutal Russian and Soviet domination.

The church maintains that in 1608 the Virgin Mary, holding an infant Christ, appeared above a rock to shepherds in a field near the town.

Many Lithuanian pilgrims pay homage by coming on foot. Locals say pilgrims have also traveled from neighboring Poland and as far as the United States for the weeklong celebration.

The Polish-born Pope John Paul II visited Siluva 15 years ago on Sept. 7, 1993.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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