Friday, November 16, 2001

Police arrest six in U.K. terror attacks

LONDON British police have arrested six members of an Irish Republican dissident group in connection with terrorist attacks on the mainland, Scotland Yard said yesterday.

“Today’s arrests are the result of a lengthy investigation into dissident Irish Republican terrorist groups,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry of London’s Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch. “Those in custody are being questioned in connection with the current bombing campaign on the U.K. mainland.”

Scotland Yard said that anti-terrorist branch officers, supported by specialist firearms teams, raided an address in North London early yesterday.

They arrested five men between ages 20 and 40 and took them to a central London police station for questioning. A sixth man was arrested in the northwestern city of Liverpool and taken to a local police station, where he was being interviewed by anti-terrorist branch officers.

Sharon says Israel in ‘economic emergency’

JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned yesterday that his country was going through a state of “economic emergency” and called for budgetary discipline.

“This is not the right time for strikes, nor for work stoppages, however justified, and it is also not the time for populist laws that threaten the state budget,” he told an annual meeting of Israel’s association of industrialists in Tel Aviv.

Mr. Sharon ruled out higher taxes, cutting development projects or slashing jobs.

For the past two weeks, several Israeli civil service branches have been on strike, including the customs administration, and some departments of the tax and the social security offices.

Former diplomat fears return to Iraq

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates A former Iraqi diplomat and adviser to President Saddam Hussein has refused to return to his country for fear of reprisal from the president’s youngest son, an Iraqi opposition group said yesterday.

Neema Fares al-Mihawi has taken refuge in an unspecified Western country after rejecting Baghdad’s demand that he return to the Iraqi capital. He was to return after the completion of his wife’s mission at the Iraqi Embassy in Vienna, Austria, where she works as a secretary.

Mr. Mihawi served as a low-level Iraqi diplomat in Austria from 1996 to 1999, where he was in charge of “commercial transactions for the Iraqi regime and amassed huge sums of money,” the opposition Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq said in a statement.

Palestinian Authority releases PFLP leaders

GAZA, Israel The Palestinian Authority released yesterday two leaders of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine detained last month after the group assassinated an Israeli Cabinet minister.

“Our arrest was one of the sins the Palestinian Authority has committed and I hope it is not going to be repeated,” Rabah Muhana, who was released from Palestinian Authority custody along with Younis al-Jaro, told Reuters news agency.

On Monday, the Palestinian High Court of Justice ordered the two men to be set free despite calls by the United States and Israel for Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to rein in militants. The court said the crime with which they were charged, harming the national interests of the Palestinian people, was not on the Palestinian law books.

Cuba seeks food, supplies from U.S.

Reeling from Hurricane Michelle, Cuba has opened talks with the United States for the purchase of millions of dollars worth of food and medicine, administration and congressional sources said yesterday.

Although the U.S. embargo against Cuba has been in effect for 40 years, purchases of medical supplies have been legal since 1992. Exports of food to Cuba were authorized by Congress last year.

Cuban President Fidel Castro had ruled out food purchases because no American financing was permitted. But Mr. Castro made an exception because of the devastation of Hurricane Michelle, which destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses and vast tracts of farmland.

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