- The Washington Times - Monday, September 27, 2004

SAUDI ARABIA

Fresh fighting erupts after Westerner slain

RIYADH — Saudi security forces, battling a wave of al Qaeda attacks in the world’s biggest oil exporter, clashed yesterday with suspected militants in the capital, Riyadh.

Police arrested one suspect in the southern Shifa district after a shootout broke out when the occupants of a car tried to speed away from a patrol, an Interior Ministry security spokesman told the Saudi Press Agency.

The shootout in Riyadh came hours after Laurent Barbot, a Frenchman who worked for French defense electronics firm Thales, was fatally shot in the Red Sea city of Jidda. It was the second such killing this month by suspected al Qaeda militants.

HAITI

Death toll in floods is 1,650 and rising

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The death toll in disastrous flooding in Haiti has risen to 1,650, with about 800 people still missing, a government official said yesterday.

Hurricane Jeanne sent floodwaters and mud cascading into the northern city of Gonaives and other parts of the country a week ago, leaving tens of thousands of people with nothing in the poorest country in the Americas.

Carl Murat Cantave, a Haitian government official, said the toll was 1,650. The toll could rise well above 2,000 as more bodies are recovered from Gonaives and outlying areas.

IRAQ

U.S. soldier jailed for slaying Iraqi

BAGHDAD — A U.S. soldier has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the slaying of an Iraqi national guard soldier in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said yesterday.

The military said no details of the May incident could be released until military judges had authenticated the court-martial decision.

Spc. Federico Merida, from Briscoe, N.C., pleaded guilty to murder. The 21-year-old was assigned to the 30th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq, a unit attached to the 1st Infantry Division.

ISRAEL

Settlers to face jail for fighting eviction

JERUSALEM — Israeli settlers who clash with soldiers sent to evacuate them from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank could be jailed for up to five years under legislation published yesterday.

The bill, enshrining in law Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to pull all 8,000 settlers out of Gaza and uproot four West Bank settlements, also sets terms for compensation expected to reach $200,000 to $500,000 per family.

Settlers who cause disturbances on evacuation day could be jailed for up to three years under the bill, which goes to parliament on Nov. 3. If a settler resisting evacuation is armed, another two years could be added to the sentence.

CHINA

Party says its rule depends on integrity

BEIJING — The Communist Party said in an unusually self-critical statement yesterday that some of its leaders lack integrity and warned that the “life and death of the party” could hang in the balance.

The report by the party Central Committee called on members to “develop a stronger sense of crisis” about reform, warning that communist rule “will not remain forever if the party does nothing to safeguard it,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Its urgent tone reflected the leadership’s concern that rising anger at corruption that has cost China billions of dollars and sparked numerous protests could undermine public acceptance of communist rule.

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