1 APRIL 1905, Page 1

Rumours have reached us from Constantinople, through persona whom we

have found well informed, that the situation there is growing very serious. It is stated that the Sultan is suffering from disease of the kidneys, and is so ill that it may be necessary to risk a serious operation. Should Abd- ul-Flaraid, with his extraordinary diplomatic ability, succumb to disease, the whole situation would be changed in the Near East ; and incidents might arise which would enable the Czar to-make peace with Japan at once, upon the sound plea that his first duty in external affairs was to protect the rever- sionary claim of his people to Constantinople. It is so difficult to believe any news from Yildiz that we report these rumours with all reserve; but we would strongly advise our readers to watch telegrams from Constantinople as attentively as they are watching those from St Petersburg and Tokio. It should also be noted that the insurrection in the Yemen gains ground, and disturbs the Sultan, who knows that if he lost the guardianship of Mecca, his claim to the Kaliphate would, in the eyes of Mussulmans, be gravely impaired.