President plans weekend visit to Saudi Arabia
By Times Wires
Published March 2, 2007
IRAN - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning a trip to Saudi Arabia, an official said Wednesday, for talks expected to focus on regional stability and the sectarian fighting in Iraq and Lebanon. The Associated Press reported the trip would take place Saturday. Analysts said they believe the trip is aimed at improving relations between the regional powers, and Ahmadinejad's visit is the latest in an exchange of visits in recent months. Iran sent its chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, to the kingdom and Saudi Arabia has sent envoys to Iran in recent months. A collaboration between Iran and Saudi Arabia could complicate the regional policy of the United States, which is alarmed at rising Iranian influence in Iraq and Lebanon, and with Hamas.
Feared strongman named president
CHECHNYA - Russian President Vladimir Putin gave power in Chechnya on Thursday to a widely feared pro-Russian strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov, even as Europe's human rights chief warned of widespread torture and other abuses allegedly committed by Kadyrov's henchmen. Kadyrov, the son of an assassinated Chechen president, previously served as prime minister and had been expected to seek the presidency after turning 30 in October - the minimum age for the office under local law. Legislative approval was expected today.
British troops won't be replaced
LONDON - Britain will withdraw its remaining 600 troops from Bosnia after a 15-year peacekeeping mission in the region, Defense Minister Adam Ingram said Thursday. A contingent of Welsh Guards attached to an EU peace force will not be replaced when they return from the region over the next month. Ingram said the move follows a European Union agreement Tuesday to reduce the 6,000-strong force, leaving around 2,500 EU troops in Bosnia.
SOMALIA: The advance team of an African peacekeeping force to Somalia - 30 Ugandan troops - arrived unannounced in the country on Thursday, a senior police officer said. A Ugandan military spokesman, however, denied that any troops were in Somalia.
ETHIOPIA: Ten French tourists were kidnapped Thursday in northern Ethiopia, a businessman and a tour operator who work in the region said.
SENEGAL: President Abdoulaye Wade received 56 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff and win re-election, officials said Thursday.
CZECH REPUBLIC: More than 500 gallons of radioactive water leaked at the Temelin nuclear power plant but did not contaminate the environment, an official said Thursday.
PARAGUAY: Paraguay has declared a state of emergency after a wave of dengue fever cases as concerns over the mosquito-borne illness rise across Latin America. Paraguayan health officials have reported some 14,000 cases of the disease this year, with four deaths.
INDIA: Avalanches and landslides in Kashmir forced Indian security teams to airlift thousands of people to safe areas, and at least eight Pakistani soldiers were feared dead after they were buried under a snowslide near the Afghan border, officials said Thursday. Both incidents occurred in the Himalayas, about 150 miles apart.
[Last modified March 2, 2007, 01:29:57]
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