- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2009

ITALY

Tunisian deported on terrorism charge

ROME | Italy on Sunday expelled a Tunisian jailed on terrorism charges, defying a ruling of the European Court of Justice by sending him back to his country where he fears he could face torture, his lawyer said.

Ali Toumi, who is married to an Italian and has three children, had been fighting extradition for fear of torture in Tunisia. He was seeking to remain in Italy on humanitarian grounds, his lawyer Barbara Manama said.

The European Court of Justice has on three occasions asked the Italian authorities not to proceed with Toumi’s expulsion before deciding on his asylum request.

The Tunisian had been sentenced to six years in prison in 2003 for trying to recruit volunteers for operations in Iraq. He had served his sentence and had since May 18 been in a holding center pending his extradition.

SWITZERLAND

Officials investigate missing Americans

BERN | Swiss diplomats are trying to find out what happened to three Americans reportedly captured in Iran, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

The Swiss Embassy in Tehran is working to learn more about the Americans’ fate through its contacts with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, spokeswoman Nadine Olivieri said.

Iran state TV says Iranian guards detained the three American tourists Friday after they purportedly crossed the border from northern Iraq.

Switzerland has represented U.S. interests in Iran since American diplomats were taken hostage at the embassy in Tehran 30 years ago, and the State Department has said it asked the country to intervene in this case.

BRITAIN

Fat soldiers unfit for duty

LONDON | British soldiers are getting so fat that it’s putting lives at risk, according to a leaked memo from the army’s physical training corps published in a Sunday newspaper.

The Observer said an emergency memo sent to all units of the British army earlier this month warned that an increasing number of soldiers had become so fat that they couldn’t be deployed to conflict zones and urged commanders to focus on physical fitness.

The army “has not consistently maintained our standards of physical fitness” and needs to “reinvigorate a warrior ethos and a culture of being fit,” the newspaper quoted the July 10 memo as saying.

The Ministry of Defense offered no direct comment on the Observer’s report, but it did not dispute its accuracy.

GREECE

Government nixes call for election

ATHENS | Greece’s conservative government rejected calls Sunday from the socialist opposition chief for the country to hold early elections.

Socialist leader George Papandreou, in a newspaper interview published Sunday, said early polls were necessary to bring the change the country needs to emerge from the economic crisis.

Mr. Papandreou also vowed to negotiate with the European Union a new timetable for the reduction of its public deficit, which is forecast to balloon to 5.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2010.

The European Commission has set a 2010 deadline for Greece to reduce its public deficit to under 3 percent of GDP.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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