- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

PAKISTAN

Cleric jailed for one month

PESHAWAR | Pakistani authorities are detaining for one month an Islamist cleric who brokered a failed peace deal with the Taliban in the Swat Valley to investigate whether he inappropriately aided the militants, officials said Monday.

Sufi Muhammad was arrested Sunday, indicating the government won’t try to strike another peace deal with Taliban fighters in the northwest valley, where the army has waged a three-month offensive.

Investigators may also be trying to pressure the aging cleric for information on the location of Swat Taliban commanders, including son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, the chief militant in the valley.

Amir Haider Khan Hoti, the chief minister of North West Frontier Province, said the government hopes to bring formal charges against Mr. Muhammad soon.

IRAQ

Militants target police officers

BAGHDAD | Two people were killed Monday in bombings across Iraq targeting police officers, considered the weakest link among the Iraqi security forces that have taken the lead from withdrawing American forces.

The bombings primarily targeted police vehicles in Baghdad, western Fallujah and northern Mosul, areas that have experienced an increase in attacks on Iraqi forces since U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas under the terms of a U.S.-Iraqi security pact.

Although the U.S. military has made enormous efforts to train and equip Iraq’s army, it has not given the same attention to the national and local police. Since U.S. forces withdrew from Iraqi cities June 30, the American military has stepped up its police training efforts.

FRANCE

Active president out of hospital

PARIS | French President Nicolas Sarkozy was discharged Monday from the hospital where he spent the night after collapsing while jogging. Doctors said his illness was due to heat and overwork and ordered the 54-year-old leader to rest but prescribed no further medical treatment, his office said.

Medical tests Monday on Mr. Sarkozy’s heart showed no signs of irregular heartbeat or long-term consequences. Doctors diagnosed Mr. Sarkozy with “lipothymic” discomfort due to overexertion at high temperatures in a “context of fatigue linked to a large workload,” the statement said.

Mr. Sarkozy left the Val-de-Grace military hospital at midmorning, but it was unclear where he went. All of his official activities Monday were canceled, and a visit to Normandy on Tuesday was postponed. Mr. Sarkozy was still expected to chair the regular Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday, the last event before the government takes a three-week break.

Mr. Sarkozy collapsed Sunday while jogging on the grounds of the Chateau of Versailles. He is halfway into his five-year term.

LIBERIA

Taylor says he’s no cannibal

THE HAGUE | Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor on Monday denied that he had ever eaten human flesh or ordered his fighters to do so as he answered allegations of cannibalism at his war crimes trial.

“It is sickening. You must be sick to believe it,” the one-time warlord testified in the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting in The Hague.

Taylor, 61, said he could not dispute that there were cannibals in certain parts of Liberia, but claims that he was among them were “total nonsense”.

A witness had testified at the trial that he ate human flesh with Mr. Taylor at a gathering of a secret society called Poro.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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