- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

Ice-rink crash injures 21 in South Africa

PRETORIA, South Africa The ceiling over a crowded shopping-mall ice rink collapsed yesterday, trapping several children under debris and shattering a glass wall.

Police said 21 persons were seriously injured when the second floor of the Kolonnade Shopping Center dropped onto the lower-level rink. Three persons were hospitalized with critical injuries and 18 with serious injuries.

Commonwealth delivers ultimatum to Mugabe

LONDON Commonwealth ministers, meeting in London, delivered an ultimatum Tuesday to President Robert Mugabe to halt the political repression of opponents in Zimbabwe within a month or risk suspension from the organization.

At the same time, British officials said the European Union was also likely to adopt sanctions against Zimbabwe next month, including a travel ban on Mr. Mugabe's family and cronies and freezing their assets, unless the situation improves radically.

Yemen continues hunt for al Qaeda fighters

ABYAN, Yemen Yemen buried 18 soldiers killed pursuing suspected Osama bin Laden operatives as teams went house to house yesterday looking for al Qaeda members, government and tribal officials said.

Searchers backed by U.S.-trained special forces were in villages in Marib, Shabwa and Al-Jawf provinces, security officials said. Tribal elders said no suspects had been captured.

Russia, U.S. discuss Iraq sanctions

MOSCOW A senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying yesterday that talks with a U.S. envoy about U.N. sanctions on Iraq had made progress only on certain issues.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze, speaking to Interfax news agency after two days of talks, also restated Moscow's opposition to any extension of the U.S.-led anti-terrorist operation to Iraq.

Mr. Ordzhonikidze said the talks with the U.S. delegation, headed by Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf, were devoted mainly to a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq's "oil for food" program.

Palestinians say U.S. blindly backing Israel

CAIRO Palestinians accused the United States of "blind" support of Israeli actions against them in a memorandum presented to an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers yesterday.

Ministers from the 22-member Arab League were gathered in Cairo at the request of Palestinians after a recent escalation of violence in an almost 15-month uprising against Israeli occupation.

The United States has said Israel has the right to defend itself against attack after a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings. Palestinians have said Israel has interpreted this as a go-ahead to carry out attacks on Palestinian installations.

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