- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2010

EGYPT

Group promotes spy chief for president

CAIRO | Activists on Thursday hung posters across Cairo supporting Egypt’s intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as a candidate in next year’s presidential elections, the latest campaign to try to undermine a possible father-son succession in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

Gamal Mubarak has for the past decade been widely expected to succeed his father, 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak. Both father and son deny that such a plan exists, although Gamal Mubarak’s political clout has significantly grown over the past decade.

The question of who will succeed Mr. Mubarak, Egypt’s ruler of nearly 30 years, gained added importance when the older Mr. Mubarak traveled to Germany this year for surgery to remove his gallbladder and a benign growth in the stomach lining. The surgery raised questions about the president’s health.

It was only this month that posters appeared around Cairo promoting the banker-turned-politician Gamal Mubarak as Egypt’s next president and urging him to run in the 2011 presidential election.

Opposition groups have been vocal against the idea, and have floated other names as candidates, including former U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

MEXICO

President defends drug policy, concedes violence worse

MEXICO CITY | Mexican President Felipe Calderon admitted drug violence is worsening in Mexico, but said the cartels had been weakened by the toppling of several major drug bosses, in his annual address Thursday.

Mexico is on the road to economic recovery, Mr. Calderon said, as Latin America’s second-largest economy picks up from hard knocks to tourism and commerce set off by the financial crisis and the swine-flu outbreak.

Mr. Calderon peppered his annual speech with references to independence heroes two weeks before massive bicentenary celebrations and two years before the end of a six-year term so far overshadowed by drug violence.

ISRAEL

Book says Wiesenthal worked for Mossad

JERUSALEM | A new book claims renowned Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal worked for Israel’s Mossad spy agency, providing information on war criminals and Germans working in Arab countries.

The assertions in “Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends” shed a different light on the Holocaust survivor previously thought to have conducted a lone quest to bring war criminals, such as top Nazi Adolf Eichmann, to justice.

It “is quite surprising in the context of his own story, because he was always regarded as a loner, someone who does everything alone against all odds and against local law enforcement,” the book’s author, Israeli historian Tom Segev, said.

The founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Rabbi Marvin Hier, said Wiesenthal had told him he had assisted the Mossad. But Mr. Hier said he never realized how formal the relationship had been or that Wiesenthal had been paid for it. Wiesenthal died in September 2005.

HAITI

U.N.: Crime and drugs threaten elections

UNITED NATIONS | A growing use of weapons and cocaine trading through quake-stricken Haiti poses a new threat to stability ahead of landmark elections in November, the U.N. said Thursday.

A new report on Haiti, where a magnitude 7 quake in January killed an estimated 250,000 people, said gangs were increasing their grip on many of the 1,300 camps where most of the estimated 1.3 million homeless are still based.

Presidential and legislative elections are to be held Nov. 28, and the report said that “the electoral period may bring to the fore new threats to stability.”

The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti has noted an increasing number of weapons in circulation, especially in traditionally high-crime areas of the capital.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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