- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

FRANCE

Formal ties eyed with North Korea

PARIS | French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s special envoy to North Korea said Sunday that he had long talks with officials there about sensitive issues including nuclear proliferation and human rights.

Jack Lang, a former French culture minister, returned from a five-day mission to explore possible diplomatic ties between France and the communist country.

Asked about the difficult topics of nuclear proliferation and the country’s labor camps, Mr. Lang said they were “two subjects Korean leaders and I discussed at great length.”

Mr. Lang said he plans to brief Mr. Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner soon about the trip, which included 10 hours of talks with officials including No. 2 leader Kim Yong-nam. He did not see North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

SERBIA

Patriarch Pavle dies at age 95

BELGRADE | Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Pavle, who called for peace and conciliation during the Balkan ethnic wars of the 1990s, died Sunday. He was 95.

There have been reports of an internal struggle over who would succeed Patriarch Pavle, a respected theologian and linguist known for personal humility and modesty. The favorite is influential Bishop Amfilohije, a hard-liner known for his anti-Western and ultranationalist stands.

The 7 million-member church said its highest body, the Holy Synod, could announce Monday when Patriarch Pavle’s successor would be chosen. At least 40 days must pass after Patriarch Pavle’s death before a new patriarch can be elected.

Patriarch Pavle took over the church in 1990 just as the collapse of communism ended years of state policy of repressing religion. He often spoke against violence in the ethnic wars Orthodox Serbs fought against Catholic Croats and Bosnian Muslims during the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II.

ITALY

Police capture No. 2 Mafia leader

ROME | Italian police on Sunday captured the No. 2 leader of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra Mafia, Domenico “Mimmo” Raccuglia, after 15 years on the run, officials said.

Raccuglia, 45, who has been sentenced separately to three life jail terms including for his role in the kidnapping and murder of a teenager, was arrested in Sicily’s Trapani region, police told ANSA news agency.

Raccuglia, who was nicknamed “the veterinarian” for his love of animals, was considered one of Italy’s 30 most dangerous fugitives, ANSA reported.

Raccuglia was considered a potential contender to become the new boss of the Mafia in Palermo.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Suspect questions over soldier killings

LONDON | Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man in connection with the murder of two British soldiers in March, they said Sunday.

The 51-year-old man is being questioned about the murders of Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey, fatally shot March 7 outside the Massereene Barracks in Antrim, northwest of Belfast, as they collected a pizza delivery.

The man is also being questioned over the attempted killing of five others at the same time, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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