Annan’s deputy to quit in April
NEW YORK — Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette will leave the United Nations in April to oversee a two-year research project on nuclear power and weapons at the Center for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian research group, the United Nations announced yesterday.
Miss Frechette, a Canadian who was hired in 1998 as a de facto senior operating officer and point person for Iraq policy, has come under sustained criticism in recent years. She tendered her resignation after an internal report criticized her for failing to take steps to protect the U.N. compound in Baghdad before it was bombed in August 2003; and a commission headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker repeatedly took her to task for failing to adequately oversee the U.N. oil-for-food program.
Agreement reached on new budget
BRUSSELS — European Union leaders struck a compromise deal early today to break their deadlock over the bloc’s future budget plans, a British presidency official said.
“It’s done,” the British diplomat said after EU leaders all gave their view on the latest compromise on the 2007-2013 budget for the 25-nation bloc at the end of a grueling two-day summit in Brussels.
Accord on the budget plans had been blocked chiefly by Britain’s refusal to give more ground on the EU rebate, which former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously secured in 1984.
Vote panel rejects Weah’s fraud claim
MONROVIA — Liberian electoral authorities yesterday dismissed international soccer star George Weah’s claims that fraud had robbed him of victory in a presidential runoff vote last month.
The former AC Milan striker, whose candidacy in Liberia’s first elections since a 14-year war shocked the political elite, lost the Nov. 8 vote to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former finance minister who became Africa’s first elected female head of state.
Tribunal rules ABC wrongly fired reporter
LONDON — A British employment tribunal ruled yesterday that ABC News unfairly dismissed a reporter last year because he refused to work in Iraq.
The tribunal upheld a complaint by Richard Gizbert, who claimed ABC ended his freelance contract last year because he would not cover the war in Iraq, where foreigners, including journalists, have been targeted for kidnapping and murder.
Hamas celebrates election victory
NABLUS, West Bank — Hamas supporters yesterday celebrated a landslide election victory in major West Bank towns, the strongest sign yet of the Islamic militant group’s growing political appeal ahead of Jan. 25 parliamentary elections.
Israel responded with concern, saying a Palestinian government dominated by Hamas — which calls for Israel’s destruction and has killed hundreds of Israelis in attacks — would not be a partner for peace.
The results stunned officials from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, whose internal disarray developed into a split this week when a group of young-guard leaders broke away.
Video details attack on prison
CAIRO — Dozens of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters who attacked the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad in April planned to knock a hole in the prison wall and topple guard towers with a series of car bombs to free detainees and hit U.S. forces, according to a purported al Qaeda video.
The April 2 attack left one attacker dead and more than 40 U.S. soldiers and 13 prisoners wounded.
From wire dispatches and staff reports