- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GERMANY

Lufthansa pilots to suspend strike

FRANKFURT | A walkout by Lufthansa pilots that disrupted travel for thousands of people was cut short after the airline and its union agreed to suspend the strike and hold talks, both sides said Monday.

They reached an agreement after a two-hour long hearing at a Frankfurt labor court. Lufthansa confirmed the decision and said the walkout would end at midnight.

Some 10,000 Lufthansa and Germanwings passengers were upended by the strike, which began at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, cabin crew members for British Airways voted in favor of striking over jobs and working conditions, union leaders said Monday.

MAURITANIA

Ambassador to Mali recalled in al Qaeda row

NOUAKCHOTT | Mauritania has temporarily recalled its ambassador to its northwest African neighbor Mali in a row about Mali releasing a Mauritanian Islamist from prison, Nouakchott said Monday.

Mauritania says the former prisoner is a member of al Qaeda’s North African wing, and should have been handed over to Mauritanian authorities. It has called its ambassador to Bamako, Sidi Mohamed Ould Hanenna, back to Nouakchott for consultations.

Malian authorities released four Islamist prisoners in an apparent deal with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to save a French hostage, according to a newspaper report in Mali on Friday.

WEST BANK

Israeli soldiers clash with protesters

HEBRON | A crowd of Palestinian youths pelted Israeli soldiers with stones and empty bottles on Monday, drawing tear gas and stun grenades in the most serious violence to rock this volatile West Bank city in months.

The clashes erupted a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enraged Palestinian residents by adding a disputed Hebron shrine to Israel’s list of national heritage sites. The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank as part of a future state, and saw the Israeli move — a largely symbolic gesture — as a provocation.

ZIMBABWE

China throws birthday bash for Mugabe

BEIJING | China said Monday its embassy in Zimbabwe had thrown a birthday party for President Robert Mugabe, a rare sign of foreign support for a leader reviled by many Zimbabweans and criticized by the United States and Europe.

Mr. Mugabe celebrated his 86th birthday on Sunday and made time to attend a party held in his honor at the Chinese Embassy in Harare, China’s Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry’s Web site (www.mfa.gov.cn) showed pictures of Mr. Mugabe cutting a birthday cake in front of a large sign wishing him “Happy 86th birthday.” Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said it was the first time Mr. Mugabe had visited a foreign embassy in the country since independence in 1980.

IVORY COAST

Leader announces deal after protests

ABIDJAN | Ivory Coast’s prime minister said late Monday he will announce the composition of the country’s new government within 24 hours, a move that could bring an end to a week of violent protests sparked by the president’s dissolution of the former government.

After a day of marathon meetings between the two sides, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro told reporters that the countries “political players” had come to an agreement and that he planned to announce the details of the new government on Wednesday morning.

His announcement came as at least two more protesters died Monday when an opposition demonstration turned violent, deepening the political crisis that has gripped this nation of 20 million since its government was summarily disbanded by President Laurent Gbagbo earlier this month.

BRITAIN

Saudi royal held in strangling

LONDON | A Saudi royal was remanded in custody Monday after appearing in England’s central criminal court accused of strangling a man to death in a plush London hotel.

Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir Bin Abdulaziz al Saud, 33, appeared at the Old Bailey court in London. His father, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, sat nearby.

The body of 32-year-old Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz was discovered last week at the Landmark Hotel in central London. He was said to have been an aide.

A bail application was adjourned to allow the defense time to make submissions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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