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In brief: Coalition splits over Afghanistan

Sat., Feb. 20, 2010

Amsterdam, Netherlands – The Dutch coalition government collapsed today over irreconcilable differences on whether to extend the Netherlands’ military mission in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced that the second-largest party in his three-party alliance is quitting, in a breakdown of trust in what had always been an uneasy partnership.

Balkenende made no mention of elections as he spoke to reporters after a 16-hour Cabinet meeting in The Hague that ended close to dawn. However, the resignation of the Labor Party would leave his government with an unworkable majority, and political analysts said early elections appeared inevitable.

The political outcome also left uncertainty over the fate of the 1,600 Dutch soldiers in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, where they were deployed in 2006 for a two-year stint that was extended until next August. Labor demanded that Dutch troops leave Uruzgan as scheduled.

Professor ‘sorry’ over shootings

Huntsville, Ala. – The Alabama university professor charged with fatally shooting three colleagues is remorseful but does not recall the shooting, her defense attorney said Friday.

Roy W. Miller said Amy Bishop, 44, is likely insane and does not remember pulling out a handgun and shooting six colleagues, three fatally, at a biology department faculty meeting one week ago at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

“She just doesn’t remember shooting these folks,” he said.

But he said she is now “aware of what she’s done. She’s very sorry for it.”

He said he has not spoken with her about where she got the gun. Police have said it was not registered to her, and her husband has said he does not know where she got it.


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