- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NETHERLANDS

Court probes charges of Israeli war crimes

THE HAGUE | The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has begun a “preliminary analysis” of purported crimes committed by Israelis during the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip, his office said Monday.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has received communications on this matter from Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Kashan, the Palestinian National Authority and more than 200 individuals and nongovernmental bodies, his office said in response to an e-mail enquiry from Agence France-Presse.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s office said he had met Mr. Kashan in The Hague on Jan. 22, when “they discussed allegations of crimes committed in Gaza.”

Israel said it took care to prevent civilian casualties, that war crimes allegations are political and that it will help defend its citizens from charges related to its offensive in Gaza.

INDIA

Pact signed for U.N. inspectors

VIENNA, Austria | India on Monday signed a pact governing U.N. inspections of its civilian nuclear plants, a key step toward implementing a U.S.-engineered accord allowing India to import nuclear materials and technology.

India will be required to make 14 of 22 nuclear reactors subject to regular nonproliferation inspections by 2014 under the terms of the deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

IAEA oversight was stipulated when the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group agreed in September to lift a three-decade ban on nuclear trade with India, imposed for its past nuclear tests and refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Washington pushed through the Nuclear Suppliers Group “waiver” after concluding its own nuclear cooperation pact to supply India with nuclear technology.

JAPAN

Volcanic ash mistaken for snow

TOKYO | A volcano near Tokyo erupted Monday, shooting up billowing smoke and showering parts of the capital with a fine ash that sent some city residents to the car wash and left others puzzled over the white powder they mistook for snow.

Mount Asama erupted in the early hours of Monday, belching out a plume that rose about a mile high, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption of the volcano, 90 miles northwest of Tokyo. It last erupted in August, causing no major damage.

BURMA

Suu Kyi meets visiting U.N. envoy

RANGOON | Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed frustration to a U.N. envoy Monday over the world body’s failure to persuade the country’s hard-line military leaders to give up their monopoly on power, her party said.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest, was briefly allowed out Monday for a rare meeting with U.N. representative Ibrahim Gambari.

Mrs. Suu Kyi’s party has charged that Mr. Gambari’s seven visits since 2007 have produced no tangible democratic progress, noting they have not persuaded the junta to release political prisoners nor to hold talks with the democratic opposition.

The military has ruled Burma, also known as Myanmar, since 1962.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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