Gadhafi meets Italians he exiled

ROME - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi yesterday invited the Italians he expelled in 1970 to come back to visit or work in his country. Gadhafi, who threw out 20,000 Italians to punish Rome for its 1911-41 colonial rule, met with about 100 of them on the last day of his visit to Italy.

Participants said Gadhafi claimed he saved the Italians by expelling them because others in the Libyan leadership wanted to imprison them in camps similar to those used by Italy's Fascist regime, which deported and killed thousands in the colony before World War II to put down a revolt.

"That would be impossible to verify, so it's quite shrewd," said Gianfranco Prado, 58, who grew up in Libya. "You have to admit the man has charisma."

Although the exiles are still seeking compensation from Libya for confiscated property, most applauded when Gadhafi joined them under one of the tents set up in a park in Rome for his visit. - AP

Carter receives Palestinian kudos

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Former President Jimmy Carter was honored by the Palestinian government yesterday and pledged to support the Palestinians' campaign for independence to the end of his days. In his acceptance speech, Carter urged the Palestinians to end their internal divisions and stop persecuting their rivals.

He was referring to the growing rift between the Islamic militant Hamas group, which controls Gaza, and Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in charge of the West Bank. Each side has been cracking down on the other's supporters.

Carter met with Hamas' exiled leadership in Syria on Thursday and was to head to Gaza today after meeting with Israeli officials. "I have been in love with the Palestinian people for many years," he said yesterday, adding that it was a feeling shared by members of his family. - AP

Thatcher doing well after a fall

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is recovering well from a fall that left her with a broken arm, her son said yesterday.

Mark Thatcher visited his 83-year-old mother in a London hospital, one day after she fractured a bone in an upper arm at her home. Thatcher said his mother had a restful night and was "in very good spirits."

The British Press Association, citing an unidentified Thatcher spokesman, said she was expected to remain in the hospital at least until tomorrow.

As Britain's first female prime minister, Thatcher led the country from 1979 to 1990. After leaving office, she entered the House of Lords. - AP

Elsewhere:

Tens of thousands of activists demanding rights for same-sex couples marched through the streets of Rome yesterday in a gay-pride parade. Smaller marches wound through the capitals of Poland and Croatia, where counterdemonstrators shouted antigay and nationalist slogans.