- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2005

GERMANY

Al Qaeda suspects take out insurance

BERLIN — Police yesterday arrested two suspected al Qaeda members thought to have plotted a suicide attack in Iraq and to have taken out a life insurance policy on the suicide bomber to raise money for the terror organization.

The chief suspect, a 29-year-old Iraqi identified as Ibrahim Mohamed K., also is thought to have tried to obtain nearly 2 ounces of uranium in Luxembourg.

The other suspect, a 31-year-old Palestinian identified as Yasser Abu S., purportedly was recruited to be a suicide bomber in an attack in Iraq.

VENEZUELA

Large crowds march in Colombia dispute

CARACAS — Tens of thousands of supporters marched yesterday to back President Hugo Chavez in a dispute with neighbor Colombia over the seizure of a Marxist guerrilla leader in Caracas last month.

Protesters burned a U.S. flag, blew whistles and horns, and carried placards reading “In defense of sovereignty” and “Yankee go home.”

Mr. Chavez, who has recalled his ambassador from Bogota, has said Colombia violated Venezuela’s sovereignty by illegally kidnapping Rodrigo Granda from Caracas. Colombia maintains that the guerrilla was being protected by Mr. Chavez’s government.

UNITED NATIONS

Postwar spending blamed for corruption

LONDON — The ravages of modern warfare too often are compounded by ill-conceived and expensive postwar reconstruction projects that fuel a “feeding frenzy” of corruption and profiteering, according to a report funded by the United Nations.

The report said the overwhelming international response after war simply was to pump large amounts of money into rebuilding programs without ensuring proper control.

“This results in a ‘feeding frenzy’ and a free-for-all in which the interests of the victims of tragedy are frequently swept down the river,” the report said.

INDIA

Common ground sought with China

NEW DELHI — India and China will seek to build on improved relations when they discuss strategic issues such as the war on terrorism and energy security during talks today, officials and experts said.

The talks between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei and Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran also are expected to touch on Iraq and tensions between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“This is an opportunity to broaden our bilateral relationship. We expect to exchange views on a range of subjects, and perhaps find areas of agreement,” said an Indian Foreign Ministry official.

IRAQ

Chinese hostages returned safely

BAGHDAD — Eight Chinese construction workers taken hostage by Iraqi terrorists have been returned safely to Chinese custody, China’s state-run news agency reported yesterday.

The Chinese Embassy in Baghdad said the eight would leave for home soon, Xinhua reported.

In a videotape aired Saturday, the terrorists said they had decided to release the captives after China pledged to discourage its citizens from traveling to Iraq.

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