The world at a glance . . . Europe



Terrorist convicted: A British man who called himself “Osama bin London” was found guilty this week of organizing terrorist training camps and encouraging Muslims to murder nonbelievers. Mohammed Hamid, 50, is believed to have met senior al Qaida figures in Afghanistan. He allegedly ran paramilitary training camps across Britain, some disguised as paintball courses, and called for the slaughter of non-Muslims during weekly prayer meetings in his London home. Four men who tried to launch suicide attacks in London in July 2005 all attended those prayer meetings. Born in Tanzania, Hamid came to England when he was 5. He was caught after an undercover police officer infiltrated his terror network.


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Iran’s nuclear designs: Iran may have continued work on nuclear weapons past 2003, the year U.S. intelligence says such activities stopped, a British diplomat said this week. The latest U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, released last December, said that Iran had once pursued nuclear weapons but had halted its programs in 2003. But Simon Smith, the chief British delegate to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said the IAEA has produced documents showing plans for nuclear warheads that appeared to be made after 2003. Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program, which it hid from the world for decades, is intended only for energy production. Ali Asgar Soltanieh, Iran’s delegate to the IAEA, said the documents displayed by the IAEA were “forgeries.”


Microsoft must pay: The European Union this week fined Microsoft a record $1.3 billion for failing to abide by an earlier antitrust ruling. In 2004, the E.U. ordered Microsoft to provide other companies with code so they could develop software compatible with Microsoft’s Windows. In response, Microsoft provided only a portion of its code, for which it charged high royalties. The E.U. said Microsoft’s actions were in flagrant noncompliance with the ruling. The fine this week is on top of earlier fines of $1.2 billion. “I hope that today’s decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft’s record,” said E.U. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Microsoft said it would “review” the E.U. decision.


Colleges defy head scarf law: Several Turkish universities are ignoring a new law that allows students to wear Islamic head scarves at universities. Turkey amended its constitution last week to allow women at universities to wear loose scarves—though not scarves that cover all of their hair and necks. But Turkish newspapers reported this week that at least a dozen major universities are still turning away students who show up in scarves. Modern Turkey was founded on secularism and the rejection of conservative, Ottoman-era ways, and the public display of religious symbols is highly controversial. Some moderates fear that allowing head scarves will lead to religious influence over politics.

Deutschneudorf, Germany

Amber Room discovery: Treasure hunters in Germany said this week that they may have found a cave that contains priceless treasure looted by the Nazis during World War II. The fabled Amber Room, a room in a St. Petersburg palace made of amber panels backed with gold leaf, was built for Czar Peter the Great in 1716. The Nazis looted the palace and the panels have never turned up. “I’m well over 90 percent sure we have found the Amber Room,” said the Deutschneudorf Mayor Heinz-Peter Haustein, who also happens to be an amateur treasure hunter. “I knew it was in this area. I just never knew exactly where.” Tests show a huge amount of gold is stored in the cave, but it can’t be recovered until explosives experts secure the area. The Nazis often booby-trapped their troves.

Nicosia, Cyprus

Communist for reunification: Greek Cypriots this week elected their first Communist president. Demetris Christofias, who was educated in Soviet-era Russia, has strong ties with the labor movement in Turkish Cyprus, to the north, and has called for reunification. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north to quash a military coup supported by Greece. The southern, Greek Cypriot portion of the island is a member of the European Union, while the ethnic-Turkish portion still hosts Turkish troops. “We are full of goodwill to break the deadlock to solve the Cyprus problem,” Christofias said. “Turkey, however, is the occupying force and that is the crux of the Cyprus problem.”

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