- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

IRAN

2 reformists reinstated in presidential race

TEHRAN — Iran’s hard-line Guardian Council yesterday reversed its ban on two reformists excluded from presidential elections on June 17, but doubts remained about whether one of them would participate in the race.

The reinstatement of Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh and former Education Minister Mostafa Moin would raise to eight the number of candidates cleared to run and would make the election outcome more difficult to predict.

The move followed the intervention of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader who has the last word in all state matters. Ayatollah Khamenei took the unusual step Monday of urging the Guardian Council, the legislative watchdog, to overturn its disqualification of the two reformists.

NICARAGUA

Police issue alert for al Qaeda suspects

MANAGUA — Nicaragua’s National Police declared an alert along its borders because of the “possible presence” of two members of the al Qaeda terrorist network in Central America, officials said yesterday.

The Interior Ministry identified the two as Ahmad Salim Swaydan, suspected of involvement in an April 2002 plot against the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, and a Yemeni man known only as Altuwiti.

A photo of Swaydan released by Nicaraguan authorities matched that of a man on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists: Sheik Ahmed Salim Swedan, a 36-year-old Kenyan indicted Dec. 16, 1998, on charges of involvement in the bombings that year of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. The State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.

COLOMBIA

Rebels kill 11 in attack on town

BOGOTA — Leftist guerrillas carrying assault rifles swept into a southern Colombia town yesterday and attacked government offices, killing six town council members and five others, authorities said.

The guerrillas, thought to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, opened fire at a local council meeting in Puerto Rico, a town 200 miles south of the capital, Bogota, said Oscar Galvis, an official with Colombia’s secret police.

Oscar Andres Nunez, director of the National Federation of Town Councils, said several trucks full of FARC guerrillas arrived at the town’s main square, where the town hall is located, and began shooting.

UNITED NATIONS

Portuguese ex-premier named refugee chief

LISBON — Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres yesterday was named U.N. high commissioner for refugees, the Portuguese Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Mr. Guterres, 56, was elected prime minister in 1995 and re-elected in 1999. He resigned in 2001 after his Socialist Party unexpectedly posted heavy losses in local council elections.

Mr. Guterres replaces former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, who resigned in February amid accusations of sexual harassment.

KUWAIT

Al Qaeda suspects put on trial

KUWAIT — A Kuwaiti court began the trial yesterday of 37 persons charged with links to the al Qaeda terrorist network, and prosecutors demanded the death penalty for more than half of them.

Court sources say prosecutors have sought the death penalty for about 20 suspects charged in four shootouts in January in which nine Islamists and four security personnel were killed.

The suspects are mostly Kuwaitis reported to have ties to militants in neighboring Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Police said some confessed to planning suicide attacks against U.S. military and Western targets in Kuwait. Authorities said they have seized large weapons caches.

SUDAN

Police, troops raid refugee camp

SOBA ARADI — Thousands of police and soldiers yesterday conducted house-to-house searches and made arrests in a Sudanese refugee camp, where at least 17 police and residents died in clashes last week.

At least 6,000 soldiers and 400 police officers sealed off the area, about 19 miles south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum, and arrested 50 persons in connection with the deaths of 14 policemen in the violence last week.

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