- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LEBANON

Hariri Cabinet includes Hezbollah

BEIRUT | Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri formed a new unity government on Monday that includes two ministers from Syria- and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Lebanon has been without a functioning government since Mr. Hariri led his coalition, backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, to victory in a June parliamentary election against Hezbollah and its allies.

The new 30-minister Cabinet includes 15 ministers from Mr. Hariri’s coalition and 10 from the opposition, including two Hezbollah ministers. Five, including the key interior and defense portfolios, were nominated by President Michel Suleiman.

A government acceptable to all main parties is seen as key to maintaining stability in a country facing sectarian and political tensions and a huge debt burden.

AFGHANISTAN

Operation defends NATO supply routes

KABUL | Afghan and international troops killed more than 130 insurgents in six days of fighting in a once-stable area of northern Afghanistan that has seen a recent spike in Taliban attacks, NATO said Monday. It was some of the heaviest fighting in the north this year.

The operation, which took place last week, was in the Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province against Taliban fighters who had been threatening NATO supply lines from Russia.

An estimated 700 Afghan troops and 50 international soldiers, mostly Americans, took part in the operation. A NATO statement said 130 Taliban fighters, including eight commanders, were killed. The statement did not say how NATO arrived at the death figure.

After the fighting ended, Afghan and international troops distributed humanitarian supplies in villages affected by the operation.

LIBYA

Swiss businessmen handed to embassy

BERN, Switzerland | Two Swiss businessman detained by Libya over a spat involving leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son have been handed over to their embassy in Tripoli, Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Libyan authorities gave no reason for transferring the pair back to the embassy after holding them at an unknown location for almost two months, the ministry said.

The men, who it said had been “abducted,” are “in good health, considering the circumstances,” the Swiss ministry said. It is unclear whether the men will be allowed to leave Libya.

Max Goeldi and Rachid Hamdani were detained in July 2008 on purported visa violations — days after Swiss police arrested Hannibal Gadhafi and his wife, accusing them of beating up their servants in a Geneva luxury hotel. Hannibal Gadhafi was held for two days before being allowed to return home.

BRITAIN

Mom slams Brown for sloppy condolence

LONDON | A handwritten condolence note written by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the grieving mother of a soldier slain in Afghanistan caused the government fresh embarrassment Monday.

Jacqui Janes, who lost her 20-year-old son, Jamie Janes, in Afghanistan last month, complained that Mr. Brown hastily wrote the condolence letter, misspelling both her and her son’s names and misspelling the world condolences.

“He couldn’t even be bothered to get our family name right. That made me so angry,” Mrs. Janes was quoted as saying. Jamie Janes was killed by an explosion in Afghanistan on Oct. 5.

Mr. Brown apologized to Mrs. Janes late Sunday after she complained about the letter.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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