- The Washington Times - Monday, March 9, 2009

ISRAEL

Former president facing rape trial

JERUSALEM | Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav will be charged with raping a woman who once worked for him and other sex crimes against former female employees, the Justice Ministry said Sunday.

The charges stem from a series of complaints filed by four women who worked for Mr. Katsav when he was tourism minister in the 1990s and president earlier this decade. They have accused him of crimes including rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Mr. Katsav contends he is innocent and a victim of a political witch hunt. Nearly a year ago, he called off a plea bargain that would have allowed him to escape jail time.



MADAGASCAR

Soldiers mutiny against crackdown

ANTANANARIVO | Soldiers at a large military base on the outskirts of the capital mutinied Sunday in protest at the government’s repression of a 3-month-old opposition movement.

Access roads to the camp in Soanierana district were blocked by mutineering soldiers.

Security forces had foiled several opposition rallies in Antananarivo and other towns since Wednesday, leading to clashes that left at least four people dead.

An Agence France-Presse reporter was able to access one wing of the military compound, where soldiers confirmed that the base was rebelling in protest at the regime’s repression of opposition demonstrations.

TURKEY

Mediation services offered for U.S., Iran

ISTANBUL | Turkey would consider serving as mediator between Iran and the United States, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Sunday after meeting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Turkey would weigh any requests by the two sides to serve as a mediator, and current efforts to open a dialogue are “an important opportunity,” Mr. Babacan told reporters before leaving for Tehran for an Economic Cooperation Organization meeting chaired by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mrs. Clinton was in Ankara for talks with Mr. Babacan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.

ZIMBABWE

Tsvangirai seeks medical care abroad

HARARE | Zimbabwe’s prime minister, injured in a car crash that killed his wife, has left for medical treatment in Botswana, leaving no word when he will return to his troubled homeland to try to make a power-sharing deal with his longtime rival work.

The effect Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s absence will have on Zimbabwe’s fraught political system is a matter of speculation. He spent months in Botswana last year, fearing for his life at the height of a standoff with President Robert Mugabe - with whom he formed a joint government last month.

Botswana’s president, Seretse Ian Khama, is one of the few African leaders to openly criticize Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 and is accused of destroying its economy and trampling on democratic and human rights.

CANADA

Autoworker wages frozen until 2012

TORONTO | Canadian autoworkers will face a wage freeze through 2012, along with shorter vacations and higher contributions to benefit plans under a tentative deal with General Motors Canada, the Canadian Autoworkers Union said Sunday.

The deal, seen as a pattern for pacts with other auto companies, aims to unlock billions of dollars in Canadian government funding for General Motors. Workers will vote on the pact on Tuesday and Wednesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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