March 18 Events in Iraq
Baghdad. A spokesman for Hoshyar Zebari, outgoing Foreign Minister, says Kurds and Shi'ites have finalized an agreement. All that remains the the attribution of some government posts to candidates from other parties, such as Iyad Allawi and Ghazi al-Yawar. A spokesman for Iyad Allawi says confirms talks are onging.
Kirkuk. Supporters of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr demonstrated in Kirkuk to protest the expulsion of transplanted Arabs from Kirkuk.
Baghdad. Two persons, including a truck driver, were killed. Meanwhile the bodies of an Iraqi soldier and a contractor for the Americans were discovered. An Iraqi policeman was shot dead in the capital.
Kirkuk. An Iraqi policeman was killed by a roadside bomb. Meanwhile, two Syrians were arrested for the murder of a Kirkuk police chief.
London. Defence Minister Geoffrey Hoon says there is no difference of opinion among the Coalition concerning a time for pullout from Iraq.
Rome. Berlusconi in trouble two weeks before regional elections. His recent gaffe and divisions within his governing coalition could impact Premier Berlusconi at the polls.
The Hague. Dutch national on trial for complicity in genocide. Frans Van Anraat is accused of complicity in genocide for the sale of chemicals necessary for poison gas to Saddam Hussein. Van Anraat, a 62 year-old businessman, was arrested 7 December 2004 in Holland as he attempted to leave the country. His lawyers say he worked for AIVD, Dutch Intelligence. In addition to the gassing of 5,000 Kurds in Halabja, he is held responsible for the gassing of the Iranian city of Sardasht in 1987 and 1988. Dozens of Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian Kurds were present in the courtroom. The prosecution demands $10,000 euro indemnity payable to three survivors who were also present. The trial itself will begin in November 2005. Van Anraat testified that he did not know the use for which the chemicals were destined.
Baghdad. Several Shi'ite imams attack Jordan in Friday prayers. Shi'ite imam Sheik Nasser al-Saedi of Sadr City compared the Hilla carbombing to the assassination of Rafik Hariri and repeated his call for the explusion of the Jordanian Ambassador. He accused Jordan of recruiting terrorists and planning assassinations in Iraq. After prayers, thousands of Shi'ite demonstrated in front of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad and burned the Jordanian flag. They also shouted slogans hostile to Syria.
20:20 Baghdad. US soldier killed while on patrol in Baghdad by light arms fire.
19:17 Washington. Rumsfeld says number of US troops in Iraq may be gradually reduced, but will be again increased during the Iraqi elections in the fall.
19:05 Rome. Sgrena recovers from 1-hour surgery. The operation was to drain the left lung, wounded by a bullet.
17:49 Rome. Italian oppostion in agreement with president. Opposition leader Romano Prodi agrees with Italian President Ciampi. I am very pleased because I have been saying for days that at TV show is not the place to make declarations concerning the position of Italy concerning one of our most pressing problems facing us--peace. I continue to ask Berlusconi to brief parliament, but if he doesn't want to appear, then he doesn't want appear.
17:10 Baghdad. Christian political leader freed. The Chairman of the Iraqi Christian Democrats, Minas Ibrahim al Youssufi, kidnapped in January, has been released. Youssufi is a Swedish citizen.
15:17 Rome. Sgrena Affair: There was no fourth man. The driver for Calipari and Sgrena, Carabinieri Major A. C., told the Rome Public Prosecutor that there was no fourth person in the car. A.C. also said that he was doing approximately 20 MPH when he turned off the engine after being fired upon.
15:01 Rome. Sgrena Affair: The driver for Calipari and Sgrena, Carabinieri Major A. C., was interviewed for three hours by MP Erminio Amelio and representatives of intelligence agency DIGOS and ROS. A.C. was able to reconstruction three of four telephone calls made from Calipari's vehicle to General Mario Marioli.
14:08 Baghdad. Jalal Talabani to replace Ghazi al Yawar as Iraqi President.
14:00 Rome. Sgrena to undergo more surgery at Celio Military Hospital.
13:00 Beirut. Nasrallah Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch, says President Emil Lahud should not be forced to resign. Power vacuum worse than resignation, says prelate.
07:40 Baghdad. US military says airport explosions were "controlled"
07:24 Baghdad. Explosions near Baghdad Airport. Columns of smoke seen rising from area.
06:57 Washington. Halliburton employee accused of fraud. An ex-Hallibuton employee, Jeff Alex Mazon who worked for Kellog, Brown & Root (KBR), conspired with a Kuwaiti businessman, Ali Hijazi of New General Trading and Contracting, to defraud the US government of $3.5 million.