Premier loses vote on foreign policy, resigns

Published February 22, 2007


Premier Romano Prodi resigned Wednesday after nine months in office following an embarrassing loss by his center-left government in the Senate on foreign policy, including Italy's military mission in Afghanistan. Prodi aides did not rule out the possibility that President Giorgio Napolitano would ask Prodi to try to form a new government, and from first discussions among some allies, support for another Prodi government seemed to be building. Napolitano's office said political consultations would begin today on which leaders might have enough support to form a new government. For now, Prodi will stay on in a caretaker role.


Al-Qaida videos show attacks

Osama bin Laden's henchmen are advertising their new offensive in Afghanistan by releasing an unprecedented seven videos showing them attacking U.S. troops. The videos, obtained by the SITE Institute, show the ambush of a convoy of Humvees near Khowst, a dozen miles from Pakistan; the suicide bombing of a convoy; and three rocket attacks. The U.S. has special operations camps near all three towns that were attacked, including Camp Tillman in Lwara, which Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited last month.


Pinochet officials to stand trial

A French judge investigating the disappearance of four French citizens during the 1973-90 dictatorship of Chile's Gen. Augusto Pinochet ordered 17 former regime officials to stand trial in Paris, judicial officials said Wednesday. The Paris court is expected to try the former officials in absentia, officials said. One of the officials who was to stand trial died last month, bringing the number of those who will actually be tried in absentia to 16, a lawyer for the family of one of the disappeared French citizens said. The former Pinochet officials are to face charges of "kidnapping and sequestration followed or preceded by torture and barbaric acts," officials said.


Wellington, New Zealand: Repair crews have restarted the main engine of Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru, crippled by a fire a week ago near Antarctica, but the vessel has not yet moved under its own power, Glenn Inwood, spokesman for the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, said today. The fire last Thursday killed one crew member.

Amsterdam: Ahmed Aboutaleb, the son of a Moroccan clergyman, is being sworn in today as a junior minister in the Dutch Cabinet. Joining him will be Nebahat Albayrak, a Turkish-born member of Parliament. They are the first Muslims to reach the inner core of political power in the Netherlands. Aboutaleb's advice to immigrants: integrate or leave.

Abeche, Chad: Khalil Ibrahim, head of one of Darfur's main rebel groups, said Wednesday that he is willing to call a cease-fire if Sudan's government stops attacks on civilians in the war-torn region and agrees to renegotiate a peace deal - but warned of a new offensive if it fails to do so.

Bogota, Colombia: A land mine killed five Colombian soldiers Wednesday after a patrol chasing leftist rebels stumbled in to a mine field, authorities said.