- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 7, 2003

COLOMBIA

Police attack guerrilla stronghold

BOGOTA — Hundreds of police swooped into a guerrilla stronghold in the northern town of Villanueva yesterday and arrested 34 rebels, including fighters who blew up the town hall earlier this year, a senior police official said.

Police spent 15 days gathering intelligence before the raids early yesterday, capturing the chief of the local unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, and the 33 others, including members of another leftist group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, said Gen. Luis Alfredo Rodriguez, chief of operations of the Colombian National Police.

BELGIUM

NATO ambassador sustains hand injury

BRUSSELS — U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns was recovering yesterday from a hand injury suffered during a visit to an American warship in Spain.

Mr. Burns, a former State Department spokesman, trapped his hand in a door after boarding the USS Porter during a visit Thursday by NATO dignitaries to an alliance naval force in the port of Alicante, NATO officials said.

He was rushed to a hospital in the Spanish city, but lost the tip of one finger in the accident.

MOROCCO

More Islamic extremists charged in bombing

RABAT — Moroccan authorities said yesterday they charged 19 more members and sympathizers of an extremist Islamic movement in connection with suicide bombings in Casablanca last month in which 43 persons died.

Some of the men, all Moroccans, had planned similar attacks on the tourist destinations of Marrakesh, Agadir and Essaouira, in southern Morocco, the official MAP news agency said.

State prosecutor Abdellah Alaoui Belghiti said most of the men, aged between 17 and 40, belonged to a hard-line Islamist movement known as the Salafist Jihad.

VIETNAM

Dissident monk set for release

HANOI — Vietnam’s most famous dissident monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Thich Quang Do, will be released from house arrest in September, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Mr. Do, 75, the deputy head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in August 1995 for organizing a relief mission for flood victims in the southern Mekong Delta.

He was released in a presidential amnesty on Sept. 2, 1998.

However, authorities in Ho Chi Minh City reactivated two years of his sentence, placing him under house arrest on June 1, 2001, after he issued an “Appeal for Democracy in Vietnam.”

RUSSIA

Gunmen kill major arms maker

MOSCOW — Unidentified men in camouflage uniforms shot and killed the head of one of Russia’s top arms manufacturers near his central Moscow home yesterday, city police said.

Igor Klimov, acting director-general of Russia’s largest antiaircraft missile maker, Almaz-Antei, was shot in the chest with a handgun shortly after he left for work in the morning, a police spokeswoman said.

The attackers dropped the gun and fled, she added.

SWITZERLAND

Half of the world lives in poverty

GENEVA — Some 3 billion people — half the world’s population and nearly all in developing countries — live in poverty, with incomes of less than $2 a day, the International Labor Organization said yesterday. Of that total, 1 billion people — almost a quarter of the entire population of developing states — survived on $1 a day, the U.N. agency said in a new report.

Official unemployment is at its highest point and still growing, at 180 million people around the globe, according to the report.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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