- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

BRITAIN

Brown to sell piece of tunnel

LONDON | British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office says he will announce a sale of government assets aimed at raising $4.8 billion.

Assets to be sold over the next two years include the Channel Tunnel rail link, betting company the Tote, and the government’s 33 percent stake in European uranium consortium Urenco.

Mr. Brown is scheduled to make the announcement in a speech Monday. Downing Street released details Sunday.

Britain is suffering its worst recession in decades, and the budget deficit - the gap between spending and revenues - is soaring, but Mr. Brown recently has sounded cautiously optimistic about the economy.

UKRAINE

Yushchenko: Destroy Soviet monuments

KIEV | Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday called for the country’s Soviet monuments to be thrown onto “the rubbish dump of history,” as he opened a memorial to victims of the Soviet secret police.

“Monuments to the glory of communists leaders, who scorned, hated and executed our nation … are still standing in our cities and villages,” he said, referring to the numerous statues scattered across the country.

“It is time to rid our country of these satanic symbols, to finally put these communist idols on the rubbish dump of history,” Mr. Yushchenko said.

He issued the call as the pro-Western president opened a museum in the western Ivano-Frankivsk region. During his time in power, relations between Kiev and Moscow have dropped to a post-Soviet low.

GREECE

New prime minister pledges ‘green’ future

ATHENS | Greece’s new prime minister, George Papandreou, on Sunday pledged a “green development” plan for a southern region ravaged by fires two years ago.

The fires in 2007 killed 67 people and scorched about 420,000 acres of land and forests in the Peloponnese peninsula.

Greece’s last government - which lost power to Mr. Papandreou’s socialist Pasok party last week - had handed out aid of about $190 million to about 36,000 people affected by the fires.

The European Union and other groups also gave donations.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Rebel IRA group renounces violence

DUBLIN | An Irish republican paramilitary group responsible for dozens of slayings during three decades of violence in Northern Ireland has renounced its armed struggle, its political wing said Sunday.

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) renounced violence as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Dublin.

An INLA statement made at a ceremony in Bray, outside Dublin, made no mention of decommissioning weapons.

The INLA, a splinter group of the main paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA), was responsible for some of the bloodiest actions in the Irish conflict after it came to prominence in 1975.

In 1982, an INLA bomb attack killed 17 people at the Droppin’ Well pub in Ballykelly, County Londonderry.

A 1998 peace accord ended most of the violence that plagued Northern Ireland for three decades, killing at least 3,500 people.

TURKEY

Armenia peace deal gets more conditions

ANKARA | Turkey’s prime minister said Sunday that the opening of the country’s border with Armenia would be linked to progress on a disputed region, casting doubt on landmark deals signed between the two nations.

“We want all the borders to be opened at the same time,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a meeting of officials from his party.

“But as long as Armenia has not withdrawn from Azerbaijani territory that it is occupying, Turkey cannot have a positive attitude on this subject,” he added, referring to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Turkey and Armenia signed deals on Saturday to normalize relations and open their shared border after decades of hostility over World War I-era massacres.

A long-running dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh - an Armenian-majority enclave that broke free from Turkish-backed Azerbaijan after a war - has been another stumbling block toward reconciliation between the two countries.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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