- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

GERMANY

Nazi suspect faces 29,000 charges

BERLIN | Retired Ohio auto worker John Demjanjuk was charged Wednesday with 29,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder while working as a guard at a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland. The arrest warrant could move the 30-year global legal battle over his fate closer to conclusion.

The warrant by a Munich court seeks the deportation or extradition of Mr. Demjanjuk, who lives in a Cleveland suburb and denies involvement in the deaths at Sobibor. His family says he is too sick to travel.

The U.S. Justice Department says Mr. Demjanjuk, 88, was a Nazi guard and can be deported for falsifying information on his entry and citizenship applications in the 1950s.



The U.S. Supreme Court chose last year not to consider Mr. Demjanjuk’s appeal against deportation, clearing the way for his removal. But it had been unclear until Wednesday which country would take him - his native Ukraine, Poland or Germany.

UNITED NATIONS

Afghanistan, Pakistan join Iran in drug raid

VIENNA, Austria | Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan carried out their first joint counternarcotics operation this week, pooling intelligence to arrest suspects and seize drugs in an unprecedented show of cooperation, U.N. officials disclosed Wednesday.

Officials at the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime told the Associated Press the operation was conducted Sunday at undisclosed locations along Iran’s borders with the two other countries.

Iran lies on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe.

CANADA

Person survives Niagara Falls plunge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario | Niagara Falls Park Police said a person has survived after going over the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.

Radio station WBEN-AM said police reported that the person survived the 180-foot plunge. The Buffalo News said rescuers were in the Niagara River below the falls Wednesday afternoon. No other details were available.

Former auto parts salesman Kirk Jones of Michigan was the last person known to survive a plunge over the falls in October 2003.

IRAN

U.S. wrestlers arrive for contest

TEHRAN | A group of U.S. athletes is in Iran for a wrestling event this week, media reported Wednesday, in a rare sporting encounter coinciding with speculation of a possible thaw in relations between the two old foes.

Official Islamic Republic News Agency said seven U.S. wrestlers would take part in the two-day Takhti international competition starting in Tehran’s Azadi sports complex Thursday.

Tehran and Washington have been bitter foes since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which was followed by the United States cutting diplomatic ties in 1980.

Since the United States resumed people-to-people exchanges in 2006, it has brought 75 Iranians to the United States, including table tennis, basketball and water polo players. But in February, Iran did not issue visas for a U.S. women’s badminton team to compete in the Islamic Republic.

SPAIN

Judge under fire for big U.S. salary

MADRID | A Spanish judge best known for indicting Augusto Pinochet and Osama bin Laden denies any wrongdoing after being paid $200,000 for work at a U.S. university while drawing his salary in Madrid, a court official said Wednesday.

Judge Baltasar Garzon insists he acted in good faith, hid nothing and reported both sources of income to tax authorities in both countries, said the official at the National Court, where Judge Garzon is based.

A judicial oversight board is investigating Judge Garzon for purportedly failing to warn his superiors he would be getting paid for teaching and lecturing at New York University during a sabbatical in 2005 and 2006.

GAZA STRIP

British lawmaker meets Hamas leader

GAZA CITY | A renegade British lawmaker who had financial dealings with Saddam Hussein and praised Fidel Castro in Cuba can add this to his resume: an honorary Palestinian passport awarded during a secret meeting with the prime minister of Hamas.

A statement from the militant group that rules Gaza said George Galloway met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at an undisclosed location Tuesday. Mr. Haniyeh’s office released a photo of the two men embracing.

Mr. Haniyeh has kept largely out of sight since Israel launched a devastating military offensive against Hamas last December in an effort to stop rocket fire from Gaza. The European Union considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

Mr. Galloway entered Gaza from Egypt on Monday, leading an aid caravan for victims of the Israeli offensive. He left Gaza on Wednesday through the Egyptian border.

EGYPT

Sunken-ferry owner gets 7 years prison

CAIRO | The wealthy owner of a ferry that sank three years ago in the Red Sea, killing more than 1,000 people, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and negligence Wednesday and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Hundreds of victims’ family members packing the courtroom in the Red Sea port city of Hurghada responded to the verdict with applause, but others complained it was a light sentence for ferry owner Mamdouh Ismail.

The ruling overturned an acquittal last July that sparked outraged from many in Egypt who believed the wealthy businessman and former lawmaker was being protected by his political connections.

The Al-Salam Boccaccio 98 sank in February 2006 after fire broke out in its vehicle bay while traveling from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. Most of the more than 1,000 victims were Egyptian workers returning home.

ITALY

Court throws out CIA rendition case

ROME | Italy’s Constitutional Court has thrown out the charges against 26 Americans accused of involvement in the purported CIA kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect in Milan in 2003.

The ruling by the country’s highest court sides with the government in saying prosecutors used classified information to build the case and threw out some key evidence on which the indictments were based.

State lawyer Massimo Giannuzzi said the ruling Wednesday means the prosecution will have to seek new indictments based on the remaining evidence or reopen the investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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