World Digest

WORLD DIGEST

November 24, 2005

Thousands in Georgia mark `Rose Revolution' anniversary

TBILISI, Georgia -- Thousands of Georgians jammed the streets and squares of the capital yesterday to mark the second anniversary of the "Rose Revolution" that ousted the longtime leader.

More than 100,000 people took to the streets in November 2003 to protest fraudulent parliamentary elections, culminating with demonstrators rushing into the parliament and forcing President Eduard Shevardnadze to flee and then resign.

Mikhail Saakashvili took power soon after and eagerly cultivated stronger ties with the West as he sought to move his country from under Russia's shadow.

Subsequent mass protests in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan also helped usher in reformist opposition figures in those countries.

Associated Press

Uzbekistan tells NATO to get out

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Uzbekistan has told NATO allies they can no longer use its territory or airspace to support peacekeeping missions in neighboring Afghanistan - apparently in retaliation for Western criticism of the former Soviet republic's human rights record, alliance officials said yesterday. Uzbekistan's shift away from once-warm relations with the West has been matched by closer ties with Russia, ever wary of Western influence in its former Soviet satellites. The two countries signed a far-reaching treaty this month, opening the way for a Russian military deployment in the Central Asian nation. NATO officials said, however, that alternatives would be found and the Afghan mission would not be hurt.

German chancellor reaches out to U.S.

BRUSSELS, Belgium --Angela Merkel reached out yesterday to the United States in her first foreign trip as German chancellor, saying it was time to heal the trans-Atlantic rift caused by Germany's opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. After meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Merkel praised the alliance's role in solving world problems and spoke of closer relations with the Bush administration. "I believe the ties between the United States and Germany can be developed further," she said. However, she also said she would not allow Germans to train Iraqi troops inside Iraq.

In Spain, 11 linked to extremists held

MADRID, Spain --Police arrested 11 people yesterday suspected of financing and giving logistical support to an Islamic extremist group linked to al-Qaida, Spain's interior minister said. Police detained the suspects in and around three Spanish cities, seizing computer equipment, drugs and $41,200 during raids on homes and businesses in largely immigrant neighborhoods, officials said.

Taliban suspected in killings of police

KABUL, Afghanistan --Suspected Taliban militants shot to death three Afghan police officers yesterday, a day after a roadside bombing killed a U.S. service member in the same province, a senior official said. And villagers found the nearly decapitated body of an Indian truck driver who had been kidnapped in the southwest over the weekend. A purported Taliban spokesman claimed the group had carried out the killing. This year has seen a surge in rebel-related violence and abductions, mostly in southern and eastern Afghanistan, that has left almost 1,500 people dead. Security forces are hunting the militants who shot the three policemen as they walked home in Uruzgan province, said provincial Gov. Jan Mohammed Khan.

From wire reports

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