- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2003

RUSSIA
Chechen rebels give up arms on eve of vote
VLADIKAVKAZ In an apparent gesture of conciliation, 46 Chechen rebels surrendered their weapons to Russian troops yesterday, the eve of a constitutional referendum aimed at bringing peace to the troubled region.
President Vladimir Putin has said the referendum will promote peace, but critics say it's a cosmetic change and won't do anything to discourage rebels who attack Russian troops almost every day. Hundreds of protesters also rallied in the capital, Grozny, yesterday, many carrying photographs of killed or missing relatives.
All 46 rebels who handed over their weapons at a ceremony in Grozny will be exempt from criminal prosecution, the Interfax news agency quoted Chechen administration chief Akhmad Kadyrov as saying.

GERMANY
Court orders arrest of extremism suspect
KARLSRUHE A German court ordered yesterday the arrest of a man suspected of being a Muslim extremist whom prosecutors believe may have been planning attacks in Germany linked to the start of the U.S.-led war against Iraq.
The unidentified 32-year-old North African man, detained this week, was charged with violating Germany's weapons laws and falsifying documents, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe said.
Authorities said they were carrying on with investigations into five other men detained Thursday but released Friday.

ITALY
Explosion on ship injures nine
LEGHORN An explosion aboard a tanker carrying flammable methyl alcohol injured nine persons yesterday, port officials said. The Liberian-flagged tanker Cape Horn was docking at the northwestern Italian city of Leghorn when a small fire broke out, according to the port captain's office. A tug was then ordered to take the ship out to sea as a precaution. During the tow, one of the tanks aboard the ship exploded about 1 miles offshore, the port officials said. Six crew members from the ship, and the captain and two crew members aboard the tug were injured, none seriously.

BRITAIN
Sean Connery tries his hand at newspapers
LONDON Most film stars get their pictures in the newspapers. Sean Connery, at 72, is going to help run them.
Independent News and Media said Mr. Connery a Scottish actor and household name since the 1960s, when he first played James Bond will join its British board, which oversees the Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers.
Speaking from his home in the Bahamas, Mr. Connery said he was invited by group executive Chairman Tony O'Reilly to join the board, where he looks forward to contributing ideas on the Independent's arts, sports and Scotland coverage.

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