- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Taleban order statues destroyed as sacrilege

KABUL, Afghanistan Afghanistan's hard-line Taleban rulers ordered the destruction yesterday of all statues, including a giant 5th-century Buddha that is said to be the world's tallest of its kind.

The order came from the Taleban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who issued an edict declaring statues, including the ancient Buddhas, as insulting to Islam.

"They should be destroyed so that they are not worshipped now or in the future," Mr. Omar said in his edict.

Afghanistan's ancient Buddhas are located in Bamiyan, about 90 miles west of the Afghan capital of Kabul. One Buddha, measuring 175 feet, is said to be the world's tallest statue in which Buddha is standing up rather than sitting.

Frozen baby makes 'miracle' recovery

EDMONTON, Alberta A Canadian toddler was awake and smiling yesterday in a miraculous recovery after she wandered into subzero temperatures and became so frozen her heart stopped, officials said.

Doctors said the 13-month-old Edmonton girl, who was clinically dead when she arrived at a hospital on Saturday, had no immediate indication of brain injury, although the extent of her frostbite wounds was still being determined.

Medical officials expressed amazement at the recovery, saying there were only "four or five" known cases in which a child has survived after becoming so cold. Her body temperature was 61 degrees Fahrenheit when paramedics reached her.

Army, rebels fight in capital's outskirts

BUJUMBURA, Burundi Rebels engaged government troops on the outskirts of the capital yesterday in heavy fighting, leaving the dead in the streets and the latest efforts to secure peace foundering.

The Hutu rebels seeking to oust the government of President Pierre Buyoya yesterday claimed to have advanced to the Kinama district, eight miles from the capital, Bujumbura.

Defense Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye said 35 persons, 10 of them rebels, were killed in the fighting since Sunday. His statement did not say how many of the dead were government soldiers. Residents said people were killed in a cross fire.

Yeltsin to stay longer in hospital

MOSCOW Former President Boris Yeltsin, hospitalized three weeks ago with what was described as a viral infection, is recovering more slowly than expected and will remain in the hospital for more analysis, an aide said yesterday.

The announcement came after President Vladimir Putin visited his predecessor in the government's Central Clinical Hospital on his way to South Korea.

Mr. Yeltsin, hospitalized with a fever and suspected viral infection, has been recovering "slower that the doctors initially believed," Vladimir Shevchenko, Mr. Yeltsin's protocol chief, said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Cuban U.N. envoy's lecture is blocked

NEW YORK The United States has barred a senior Cuban U.N. envoy from delivering a lecture on "Cuba After Castro" at a Pennsylvania university, saying the speech was unrelated to his diplomatic duties.

The lecture, which had been set for earlier this month at Lehigh University, "in no way constitutes official United Nations business or the work of the government of Cuba at the United Nations," U.S. envoy Robert Moller said in a letter to a U.N. committee circulated yesterday.

Rafael Dausa Cespedes, the No. 2 diplomat in Cuba's U.N. mission, had been invited by Lehigh's Office of International Education to give a speech there on Feb. 6.

Cardinals to go to Rome in May

VATICAN CITY Cardinals from around the world have been summoned to the Vatican in May to discuss church strategy in the new millennium, the first such meeting in seven years.

The Vatican said the meeting will take place May 21-24.

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