- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 30, 2001

Cypriot rivals dine in breakthrough
NICOSIA, Cyprus Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash crossed into the Greek Cypriot-controlled part of Cyprus yesterday for the first time since the 1974 Turkish invasion, prompting demonstrations against his official dinner visit.
He was driven under police escort to the Cypriot president's home in Nicosia as Greek Cypriots protested at the town's main square and outside the presidential residence.
President Glafcos Clerides invited Mr. Denktash to dinner as a sign of improving relations as the two men prepare for Jan. 16 negotiations on reuniting the island.
Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish-occupied north and a Greek Cypriot-controlled south since Turkey invaded after a coup staged in 1974 by supporters of union with Greece.

Iranian court slashes reformers' sentences
TEHRAN The sentences of several Iranians jailed for their role last year in a Berlin conference deemed to be "anti-Islamic" have been sharply reduced on appeal, one of their lawyers said yesterday.
All the 10 sentenced journalists and intellectuals had been accused of "attacking state security." They appealed their convictions in January.
The sentence of journalist Akbar Ganji was reduced from 10 years, and a further five years of internal exile, to just six years in jail, lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani said.
Ezzatollah Sahabi, 75, a key figure in the reformist movement, saw his sentence cut from 4 1/2 years to six months, although he is still in jail awaiting a separate prosecution.

Moscow TV station gets legal reprieve
MOSCOW Russia's TV6, the largest television channel outside the control of the Kremlin, won a reprieve yesterday when a high court overturned an earlier order for the station to close.
The November court order for TV6 to close came after an action by a minority shareholder, a pension fund linked to Russia's biggest oil producer Lukoil.
TV6, which is owned by self-exiled financier Boris Berezovsky, says the oil fund is doing the Kremlin's bidding to stifle dissenting media voices.

China amends law to fight terrorism
BEIJING Chinese lawmakers amended the country's criminal code yesterday to toughen penalties for terrorism, the official Xinhua news agency said.
State media said last week that lawmakers were weighing changes to strengthen the way China dealt with terrorists in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Since backing the U.S.-led war on terrorism, Chinese officials have sought to portray Muslim separatist groups in the western region of Xinjiang as terrorists.

Gabon elections give president new boost
LIBREVILLE, Gabon President Omar Bongo, veteran ruler of Gabon, consolidated his grip on the oil-producing, central African country when his party maintained its hefty majority in parliamentary elections, results showed yesterday.
The electoral commission said provisional results from a second-round vote on Dec. 23 showed Mr. Bongo's Democratic Party had won 84 seats in the 120-member assembly, while allies and independents took another 14.
Mr. Bongo has ruled the former French colony since 1967, succeeding the first president, Leon M'Ba, when he died.

'Potter' author said to have wed
LONDON "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling got married in a secret Dec. 26 wedding near her new Scottish home, British media reported in editions today.
Miss Rowling married long-term partner Neil Murray, a physician.
Her four Potter books so far have sold more than 100 million copies, while the film adaptation of the first novel, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," is enjoying box office success worldwide. Miss Rowling plans three more novels in the saga.

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