- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

HAITI

Aristide’s supporters demand his return

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide hurled stones and fired guns on streets littered with debris and overturned cars yesterday in a third day of violent protests demanding Mr. Aristide’s return.

Seven persons have been killed in the violence so far — including three policemen whose headless bodies were found Friday. A fourth policeman was also shot and killed on the first day of fighting.

IRAQ

Kurds demand oil-rich Kirkuk

SULEIMANIYAH — About 100,000 Kurds demonstrated outside provincial government offices yesterday, demanding that the turbulent, oil hub of Kirkuk be made part of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

A tense confrontation has been building in Kirkuk, with hard-line Kurdish politicians demanding the departure of about 200,000 Arabs who settled here during a campaign by Saddam Hussein’s regime to increase the Arab population in oil-rich parts of northern Iraq.

Sunni Arabs, in particular, oppose incorporating the city into the Kurdish zone.

SOUTH KOREA

Al Qaeda terror fears prompt security boost

SEOUL — South Korea stepped up security around air and sea ports and its diplomatic missions overseas yesterday after an audiotape attributed to al Qaeda urged Muslim youths to attack the United States and its allies, including South Korea.

South Korea, which has 2,800 troops in Iraq, meanwhile convened its National Security Council to assess the threats. The government also ordered airport and maritime authorities to tighten immigration checks to prevent possible terrorists from entering the nation.

LEBANON

Suspected terrorists sought in bomb plot

BEIRUT — A military prosecutor has charged 35 Arab nationals and alleged members of an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group with plotting to bomb foreign targets in Lebanon, including the Italian and Ukrainian diplomatic missions, judicial officials said.

However, only nine of the 35 defendants are in police custody, the officials said on the condition of anonymity. The remaining suspects, including Lebanese, Saudis, Palestinians and Syrians, remain at large.

Lebanese police, in cooperation with Italian intelligence authorities, arrested 10 Lebanese men on Sept. 17 over plots to bomb the Italian and Ukrainian diplomatic missions in Beirut, assassinate Western diplomats and attack Lebanese security facilities.

IRAN

Tehran legalizes business privatization

TEHRAN — Iran yesterday overturned a key plank of its constitution to allow large-scale privatizations in a bid to overhaul the lumbering economy, over which many hard-line parliamentarians have been trying to maintain state dominance.

The Expediency Council, Iran’s top legislative arbitration body, gave the green light to privatizations in the downstream oil and gas sectors, mines, banking, insurance, telecommunications, railways, roads, airlines and shipping.

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