- The Washington Times - Monday, February 22, 2010

UKRAINE

Yanukovych names 3 for prime minister

KIEV | Ukrainian President-elect Viktor Yanukovych named three candidates for the post of prime minister on Sunday and said he expected a coalition to replace the government of Yulia Tymoshenko to be formed soon.

Mr. Yanukovych’s Regions Party needs to forge a new coalition in parliament to replace Mrs. Tymoshenko as prime minister, and the nominee is key for the party to gain support from others. This may be why two of the candidates do not come from Regions’ ranks.

Mr. Yanukovych named businessman Sergey Tigipko and former Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, as well as a member of his own party, former Finance Minister Mykola Azarov, as the most likely candidates.

Mr. Tigipko, 50, and Mr. Yatsenyuk, 35, have presented themselves as pragmatists who would be able to undertake tough reforms as Ukraine reels from a deep economic crisis. Russian-born Mr. Azarov, 63, leans more toward Moscow and traditional state regulation.

PORTUGAL

Floods, mudslides kill 42 on island

FUNCHAL | Rescue workers dug through heaps of mud, boulders and debris Sunday in Madeira Islands, searching for victims buried by flash floods and mudslides that already killed at least 42 people on the popular Portuguese island.

More than 120 others were injured and an unknown number were missing, possibly swept away or smothered, authorities said, adding that the death toll could still rise. Another 250 people were forced to flee their homes and go to shelters.

The worst storm to hit the Atlantic Ocean island since 1993 lashed the capital of Funchal on Saturday, turning some streets into raging torrents of liquid brown mud, water and debris.

Madeira is the main island of a Portuguese archipelago of the same name, in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa.

The flash floods were so powerful they carved their own paths down mountains and through the city, churning under bridges and even tearing some down. Residents had to cling to railings to make sure they weren’t swept away. Cars were consumed by the force of the water, and the battered shells of overturned vehicles that had been swept downstream littered the streets.

FRANCE

Sarkozy’s ratings near record lows

PARIS | French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval ratings have sunk to near record lows, a poll showed Sunday, amid frustration over political mistakes and rising unemployment one month before regional elections.

A poll by Ifop for the weekend newspaper Journal du Dimanche showed approval of Mr. Sarkozy at 36 percent, down two points from a month earlier and close to an all-time low of 35 percent in May 2008, a year after he took office.

Workers and civil servants showed the highest level of dissatisfaction with Mr. Sarkozy against a background of rising unemployment and debt and plans to reform the pensions system, one of this year’s thorniest projects.

Sixty-three percent of the 1,876 participants in the survey, carried out between Feb 11 and 19, said they were dissatisfied with Mr. Sarkozy.

POLAND

U.S. missiles expected in April

WARSAW | Poland is set to host a battery of U.S. Patriot missiles and the American troops to man it from the start of April, PAP news agency said Sunday.

“The Defense Ministry expects the first stage of the stationing of a Patriot air-defense battery and a 100-man service team to get under way in the [northern] town of Morag at the turn of April,” the agency said.

The Patriots are part of a Polish-U.S. agreement signed in December to upgrade the NATO member’s air defenses, after Washington’s decision in September to scrap a Bush-era Missile Shield incorporating installations in Poland and the neighboring Czech Republic.

Russia has repeatedly warned against stationing NATO missiles in former Soviet-bloc countries and said it would beef up its naval base across the border from Poland in its Baltic enclave Kaliningrad.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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