- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2009

EGYPT

Old tomb found with mummies

CAIRO | Archaeologists say they have discovered a more than 3,200-year-old tomb in the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities says a limestone sarcophagus belonging to a noblewoman was found in the tomb in Saqqara, south of Cairo.

In the statement Tuesday, the council says three mummies and several funerary fragments also were in the tomb. It was not known who the mummies were.

IRAQ

Lawmakers argue over lean budget

BAGHDAD | Iraqi lawmakers struggled Tuesday to hammer out spending plans that could include additional cuts in reconstruction and military purchases because of falling oil prices.

Parliament members gathered in separate caucuses before an expected full session to discuss the budget, which has been trimmed by more than 10 percent. The cuts will likely require officials to mothball some reconstruction projects and military arms purchases even as Iraq prepares to take full control of security next year.

Parliament has repeatedly postponed voting on the proposed $64 billion budget following calls for deeper austerity. The impasse has frozen other critical tasks facing lawmakers, including setting a framework that would regulate foreign oil investment.

IRAN

Journalist locked in Evin prison

TEHRAN | Iran’s judiciary spokesman says a U.S. journalist detained about a month ago is being held in a prison north of the capital, Tehran.

Ali Reza Jamshidi says 31-year-old Roxana Saberi is being held in Evin prison on a court order. He refused to provide further details in Tuesday’s news conference.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said Monday that Ms. Saberi was engaged in “illegal” activities because she continued working in Iran after the government revoked her press credentials in 2006.

ISRAEL

Defenses lacking for chemical weapons

JERUSALEM | A parliamentary panel says most Israelis have no protection against chemical weapons attack and harshly criticized defense officials for what it called a “continuing mess” in failing to replace stockpiles of worn and obsolete gas mask and antidote kits.

The annual report of the State Comptroller’s Committee released Monday said a 2004 Cabinet decision to collect kits previously distributed to the public and to store and maintain them centrally was never properly followed through.

The kits - containing gas masks, filters, syringes with an antidote for nerve gas and powder for neutralizing chemicals - were originally distributed in 1990, ahead of the first Gulf War. Although Israel did not fight in the U.S.-led war, Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel, none of which had chemical warheads.

SAUDI ARABIA

Man beheaded for killing father

RIYADH | Saudi authorities have beheaded a citizen convicted of murdering his father following a dispute.

An Interior Ministry statement says the man was executed Monday in the holy city of Medina after being convicted for fatally shooting his father after a dispute. It did not explain the nature of the dispute.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed - usually with a sword.

Monday’s execution brings to 13 the number of beheadings in the kingdom this year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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