- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

IRAQ

New try planned for election law

BAGHDAD | Iraqi lawmakers will vote Saturday on how to break a deadlock over a key election law after a vice president vetoed the legislation, causing a crisis that could delay a national vote scheduled for January and affect the timetable for an American troop withdrawal.

Iraq’s fractious parliament was looking at two options - sending the same law back to the three-member presidency council, where it is likely to be vetoed again - or amending the law to address the concerns of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi.

Under the constitution, parliament can override a second veto with a three-fifths majority, thereby passing a law seen as vital to Iraq’s ability to move toward full sovereignty and political stability after years of bloodshed.

Mr. al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, wants the law to allocate more seats to Iraqis living abroad, many of whom are Sunnis who fled the war.

LEBANON

Nasrallah re-elected as Hezbollah leader

BEIRUT | The militant Hezbollah group announced Thursday that Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has been re-elected as the Shi’ite Muslim group’s leader for a sixth term.

A Hezbollah statement did not say when the group’s top officials voted to re-elect Sheik Nasrallah, who has held the post since an Israeli helicopter gunship killed his predecessor, Sheik Abbas Musawi.

No one ran against Sheik Nasrallah.

Sheik Nasrallah, 49, is a strong critic of the United States, which lists his group as a terrorist organization.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Zoo lions kill rare white tiger

PRAGUE | A rare white tiger has been killed by two lions in a zoo in the northern Czech Republic, a zoo official said Thursday.

The lions, 14-year-old Sultan and 11-year-old Elsa, managed unexpectedly to enter an open-air area occupied by the 17-year-old tiger Isabella, by opening a trap door leading to it, Liberec Zoo spokesman Ivan Langr said.

He said authorities were not able to prevent the killing, which took place Thursday morning. The two lions have been in the zoo since 2001.

Isabella arrived as a 2-year-old in 1994 after being bought together with her brother, Columbus, from the Eskilstuna Zoo in Sweden. There are three more white tigers at the zoo — Paris, Surya Bara and Artemis, the daughter of Isabella.

THE HAGUE

U.S. embraces war crimes court

THE HAGUE | The American war crimes ambassador said Thursday the U.S. is committed to ending impunity for crimes against humanity, in a speech signaling a softening of hostility toward the International Criminal Court.

Stephen Rapp’s brief remarks marked the first time a U.S. diplomat has addressed the 110-nation Assembly of State Parties, which oversees the court’s work and budget.

He also held a string of bilateral meetings and told delegates he was there to listen and learn.

The world’s first permanent international war crimes tribunal began work in 2002. The United States refused to ratify the court’s founding treaty, the 1998 Rome Statute, partly because of fears the court could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions of troops in unpopular wars like Iraq.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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