Vigil responds to arson attack on German...


Vigil responds to arson attack on German synagogue

ERFURT, Germany -- Germans laid flowers and held a vigil yesterday outside a small synagogue after it was targeted in an arson attack, possibly by neo-Nazis angry that police had broken up a party celebrating Adolf Hitler's birthday.

Unidentified assailants threw a petrol bomb against the back wall of the Jewish place of worship at about 10 p.m. Nearby residents managed to extinguish the flames before any serious damage was done, police said.

Police arrested 21 people after the attack, which took place after the group had been singing right-wing songs at a party in a bar about a mile from the synagogue.

New Italian government is 58th since World War II

ROME -- Italian Prime Minister designate Giuliano Amato set about forming the country's 58th postwar government today, saying he had work to do and no time to lose.

On the fourth anniversary of the center-left's landmark general election win, Amato accepted a preliminary presidential mandate last night to form a new center-left government aimed at lasting until the end of the legislature in 2001.

Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema quit after the center-left's disastrous showing in regional elections last weekend. President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi designated Amato as his successor after two days of consultations.

S. Korean official quits over spy repatriation

SEOUL, South Korea -- A top official of South Korea's ruling party resigned yesterday after allegations that he had suggested that Seoul repatriate convicted North Korean spies, underlying the sensitivity of relations between the two Koreas ahead of a historic summit.

The resignation of Lee Jae-jung, chief policy-maker of the Millennium Democratic Party, came a day before the rivals were to begin talks at the border village of Panmunjom to discuss the agenda for the first-ever summit by their leaders in June.

The two Koreas were divided at the end of World War II.

In an interview published Thursday in Munhwa Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, Lee was quoted as saying that Seoul could consider repatriating convicted North Korean spies as a goodwill gesture.

U.S. to resume relations with Sudan after 4 years

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- The United States is to resume consular services in Khartoum after a four-year gap, the Sudanese foreign ministry said yesterday.

A U.S. charge d'affaires will start work in the Sudanese capital today and a consul is scheduled to arrive next week, the official Sudan News Agency reported Foreign Ministry sources as saying.

The United States closed its embassy in Khartoum in 1996 amid fears of terrorists in Sudan. U.S. diplomats accredited to Sudan have subsequently worked from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dutch police to publish guide to sex and drugs

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- City police said yesterday that they are publishing a guide to help foreign tourists flocking to the Dutch capital for sex and drugs do it safely.

The English-language "Police Red Light Guide" will be released in time for this summer's peak tourist season, said police spokesman Arie van Zandbergen.

The leaflet, written by agent Wim Schild, a 12-year veteran of the red light district beat, gives pointers to tourists who come to take advantage of permissive policies on drug use and prostitution.

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