- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2003

CZECH REPUBLIC
Havel ends final term after 13 years in office
PRAGUE Vaclav Havel, the former dissident playwright who led the revolutionary movement that toppled communism here 13 years ago, marked the end of his final presidential term yesterday.
"I bid you farewell as your president," Mr. Havel said at the end of his address on state television just hours before his term's expiration at midnight. "I remain with you as your fellow citizen."
The Czech Republic joined NATO under Mr. Havel's leadership in 1999, and the country was invited last year to join the European Union. But on the domestic front, Mr. Havel has been criticized for holding on to an idealism that increasingly has distanced him from regular Czechs.

IRAQ
Kurdish-run university bars U.N. inspectors
ARBIL Iraqi Kurdish authorities said they had refused United Nations weapons inspectors entry to a university science facility in the breakaway region yesterday.
Kurdish authorities in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil said an arms inspection team arrived in the region from the government-held city of Mosul. "The inspection team came without the information of the Kurdistan regional government and caused provocation without justification," they said.
A statement said that the inspectors realized they had made a mistake, and that they returned to Mosul.

IRAN
Two pollsters jailed for work on survey
TEHRAN Iran's hard-line judiciary sentenced two pollsters to prison for selling intelligence to U.S.-based polling company Gallup and holding secret meetings with foreigners, newspapers reported yesterday.
Abbas Abdi and Hossein Ghazian were arrested last year after the release of a survey that showed almost three-quarters of Iranians favored resuming talks with the United States. Any suggestion of talks with Washington is highly sensitive in the Islamic Republic.
"Hossein Ghazian was sentenced to eight years in prison and Abbas Abdi to seven years for selling classified information to foreigners and acting against national security," the Seda-ye Edalat newspaper said.

CUBA
Leading dissident claims wide backing for reform
HAVANA Cuba's leading dissident returned yesterday from a one-month tour of Europe and North America saying the international community backed his campaign for peaceful reform of one of the world's last communist states.
Oswaldo Paya was allowed to leave Cuba on Jan. 3 to accept the European Union's top human rights prize and visited eight countries. He was received by Pope John Paul II, U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the heads of government of Spain, Mexico and the Czech Republic.
"They all unanimously agree that there must be peaceful internal changes in Cuba, and that is what we are going to work for," Mr. Paya said. He said he would continue gathering signatures for a reform initiative known as the Varela Project.

NORTHERN IRELAND
Top Protestant guerrilla gunned down in feud
BELFAST A senior Protestant guerrilla was fatally shot and a second man also was killed in an ambush in Belfast, the latest bloodshed in a spiraling feud within Northern Ireland's outlawed "loyalist" Ulster Defense Association.
John Gregg, 45, jailed in the 1980s for a failed attempt to assassinate Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, was fired on late Saturday while he was riding in a taxi in the docks area of Belfast, police said. A second man wounded in the attack died a short time later in the hospital.
A police spokeswoman said two men had been arrested in connection with the killings, which police believed were linked to a feud between the mainstream Ulster Defense Association and its ousted west Belfast commander Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair.

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