- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009


First coed university inaugurated

RIYADH | Saudi Arabia on Wednesday inaugurated its first-ever fully integrated coed university, and its ruler declared the institution will be a “beacon of tolerance” in a world attacked by extremists.

The multibillion-dollar King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, boasts state-of-the-art labs, the world’s 14th fastest supercomputer and one of the biggest endowments worldwide. It breaks many of the conservative country’s social taboos by allowing, for the first time, men and women to take classes together.

Saudi royals and dignitaries attended the inauguration ceremony outside the coastal city of Jidda, where the university is located.

So far 817 students representing 61 countries are enrolled, with 314 beginning classes this month and the remainder scheduled to start in the beginning of 2010.

Financial backing will allow all the students to receive full scholarships covering their tuition, plus a stipend.


Spain arrests ‘dirty war’ pilot

MADRID | An Argentine-born pilot for a low-cost airline was arrested during a stopover in a Spanish airport on suspicion of piloting planes that carried hundreds of dissidents to their deaths during his country’s 1976-1983 “dirty war,” authorities said Wednesday.

Julio Alberto Poch, 57, a former Argentine navy lieutenant with Dutch nationality, is wanted in his native country on suspicion of piloting “death flights,” during which drugged prisoners were thrown from airplanes and helicopters into the Atlantic Ocean and Argentine rivers, Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Herbert Brinkman said.

Mr. Poch is wanted for questioning in four investigations of more than 1,000 deaths during his time as a pilot at the Navy Mechanics School, a notorious torture center in Buenos Aires, Spanish police said.


Father says Iraqi slain in revenge

LONDON | British soldiers laughed as they beat an Iraqi hotel receptionist to death, the man’s father said Wednesday as he gave evidence to an inquiry into the slaying.

Baha Mousa, 26, died in the custody of British troops after they went through a hotel in the southern Iraqi city of Basra in September 2003 during a hunt for Saddam Hussein loyalists.

Daoud Mousa, 63, told the London hearing that he had accused a British soldier of stealing bank notes during the hotel raid and that his son was targeted by troops in revenge.

A videotape played to the inquiry showed one of the soldiers, Cpl. Donald Payne, screaming abuse at hooded prisoners. He was convicted as Britain’s first war criminal. He was dismissed by the army and sentenced to a year in prison for inhuman treatment in 2007.


Official blames Jews for UNESCO loss

CAIRO | Egypt’s culture minister on Wednesday blamed a conspiracy “cooked up in New York” by the world’s Jews for keeping him from becoming the next head of the U.N.’s agency for culture and education.

Farouk Hosny was defeated Tuesday by Bulgarian diplomat Irina Bokova in a tight race for the position of UNESCO chaiman.

Mr. Hosny’s candidacy raised an outcry because of a threat he made in the Egyptian parliament last year to personally burn any Israeli book he found in Egypt’s famed Library of Alexandria. While he later apologized and Israel said it had withdrawn its opposition to his candidacy, several prominent Jewish activists spoke out against him in the run-up to the vote.


Police warn against curvy mannequins

TEHRAN | Iranian police warned shop owners Wednesday against displaying female mannequins wearing underwear or showing off their curves as part of a government campaign against Western influence.

In a letter published in the state-owned Iran Daily, the authorities also stated that men should not sell women’s underwear, and advised shopkeepers against showing models with neckties and bow-ties, which are considered Western and un-Islamic.

Iranian officials have issued similar warnings in the past, but have ramped up their campaign against Western influence since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.


At least 20 killed in chimney crash

NEW DELHI | A large chimney under construction at a power plant in central India collapsed Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and injuring five others, police said. As many as 100 workers were feared trapped under the rubble.

The 250-foot chimney came crashing down in the plant’s cafeteria where the workers were having tea, police said in Chhattisgarh state, where the accident occurred.

The power plant, owned by Bharat Aluminum Co., was being built by a Chinese company with the help of local contractors in Korba, nearly 600 miles southeast of New Delhi.

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