- - Sunday, September 26, 2010


ETA may be open to permanent truce

MADRID | Basque separatist group ETA reportedly says it is willing to declare a permanent cease-fire, verified by international observers, in a bid to settle the troubled region’s long-running conflict with the Spanish government.

The group did not specify whether it would allow observers to oversee the destruction of its stockpile of weapons — the only absolute way of guaranteeing a cessation of violence — but hinted that it was prepared to go beyond a mere declaration of a cease-fire.

It said it would act “if the conditions for such moves are created,” without specifying what those would be. No one was available to comment at the Spanish Interior Ministry on Sunday.

Two unidentified and masked ETA members said in an interview published in the Basque newspaper Gara on Sunday that the militant group was prepared to abide by the Brussels Declaration, a document issued in March by a group including four Nobel Peace Prize laureates. ETA often uses Gara as a mouthpiece.

The Brussels document calls for impartial verification of any cease-fire adopted by ETA.

The interview quoted the ETA members as saying, “ETA is willing to take that step, and also to go further, if the conditions for such moves are created.”

Three weeks ago, ETA announced its 11th cease-fire in its 40-year violent campaign for an independent homeland, but it did not mention the word permanent nor did it say it would be prepared to destroy its stockpile of arms.


Northern Irish man faces terror charges

LONDON | Police in Northern Ireland say a man has been charged with terrorism offenses after police uncovered a suspected dissident Irish Republican Army weapons cache.

Officers said Sunday that the 54-year-old man was arrested Friday in the town of Newry, near the Irish border.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday to face six charges, including preparation of terrorist acts.

The man was charged after the domestic security agency MI5 raised the threat level of attacks by dissident Irish terrorists.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the level has been raised from “moderate” to “substantial,” the middle rung on a five-point threat scale.


British Library to post Greek texts on Web

LONDON | One of the world’s most important caches of Greek manuscripts is going online, part of a growing number of ancient documents to hit the Web in recent years.

The British Library said Monday that it was making more than a quarter of its 1,000-volume-strong collection of handwritten Greek texts available online free of charge, something curators there hope will be a boon to historians, biblical scholars and students of classical Greece.

Although the manuscripts — highlights of which include a famous collection of Aesopian fables discovered on Mount Athos in 1844 — have long been available to scholars who made the trip to the British Library’s reading rooms, curator Scot McKendrick said their posting to the Web was opening antiquity to the entire world.

Mr. McKendrick said that London could be an expensive place to spend time poring over the Greek texts’ tiny, faded script or picking through hundreds of pages of parchment.

“Not every scholar can afford to come here weeks and months on end,” he said. The big attraction of browsing the texts online “is the ability to do it at your own desk whenever you wish to do it — and do it for free as well.”

Although millions of books have been made available online in recent years — notably through Google Books’ mass scanning program — ancient texts have taken much longer to emerge from the archives.


President pulls back police after protest

BUCHAREST | Romania’s president says he has withdrawn police protection in response to an “illegal” protest by 6,000 officers facing wage cuts.

Traian Basescu accused officers of staging an illegal march outside his office on Friday that he said undermined the state’s authority.

Mr. Basescu asked the Interior Ministry to withdraw his police protection shortly after the protest. Mr. Basescu retains his own security outfit.

The officers were protesting plans to cut their wages by 25 percent, part of government’s austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit.

Prime Minister Emil Boc also asked Sunday for his police protection to be withdrawn. After arriving from a trip to New York, Mr. Boc traveled to his residence without police escort.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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