- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Tamil attack closes Sri Lanka's airport

COLOMBO — Suspected Tamil rebels launched a massive attack against Sri Lanka's main air base and the only international airport today, destroying a civilian jetliner and six military aircraft, officials said.

Six military aircraft, including two Israeli-built Kfir jets, an Mi-24 helicopter gunship and one Ukranian MiG-27 were believed to have been damaged in the pre-dawn raid on the air force complex at Katunayake, north of Colombo.

The fighting shifted from the air base to the adjoining Bandaranaike International Airport, which was immediately shut down and all international flights to Sri Lanka were diverted to neighboring India

China spy trial begins for scholar

BEIJING — China yesterday opened the trial of U.S.-based scholar Gao Zhan on charges of "collecting intelligence" for Taiwan, her husband said.

Mrs. Gao, who has been held in China since February and was hospitalized recently a heart ailment, appeared before Beijing's Number One Intermediate Court at 9 a.m., her husband Xue Donghua said.

"The lawyer told me it's going to be a one-day trial," Mr. Xue said by telephone from his home in Washington.

Jewish Olympics end peacefully in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — No incidents were reported during the closing ceremony of the Maccabiah Games or so-called Jewish Olympics yesterday, despite fears of a possible Palestinian attack, Israeli police sources said.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon noted in a speech that the 16th Maccabiah Games were held for the first time in Jerusalem, "which will forever be the reunified and indivisible capital of the state of Israel."

Beatle Harrison denies his death is imminent

LONDON — Former Beatle George Harrison, 58, who has been battling cancer, said yesterday that reports of his imminent death had been exaggerated. The reclusive star, responding to weekend press reports that his health was fading fast, said in a statement that he was "active and feeling very well."

Guatemala on alert as Congress debates tax

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo put security forces on alert and barred high government officials from leaving the country yesterday as the Congress prepared to debate a major tax increase.

"The president called on the defense and interior ministers to place the security forces on permanent alert," said Luis Mijangos, general secretary of the presidency.

The tax package, to be presented to the Congress this week, includes a rise in the Value Added Tax to 12 percent from 10 percent.

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