- The Washington Times - Friday, November 23, 2001

Chavez backers battle protesters, police

CARACAS, Venezuela Riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas yesterday at hundreds of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's supporters who attacked some 2,000 anti-government demonstrators in the capital.

Several people were injured in skirmishes around Venezuela's historic National Assembly building. The city police struggled to separate about 300 government loyalists from demonstrators bearing placards reading "Chavez Out."

During lulls in the clashes, rival factions squared off on street corners in downtown Caracas, throwing rocks or bottles, while police with a water cannon prowled the area to disperse the throng.

Venezuela's largest opposition party, the centrist Democratic Action, convened the march to protest the left-leaning Mr. Chavez's use of special legislative powers to decree far-reaching economic reforms without consultation.

40 dead, 60 missing in gold mine collapse

BOGOTA, Colombia Villagers and emergency crews using tractors and shovels clawed desperately yesterday at the entrance of a gold mine that collapsed earlier in the day in their effort to find survivors.

At least 40 persons died and 60 others were missing when the roof of the abandoned gold mine fell in, trapping people under tons of earth, authorities said.

By the afternoon, rescuers, surrounded by anxious villagers, had pulled out 23 bodies.

Canada to tighten anti-terror laws

OTTAWA The Canadian government yesterday introduced legislation to tighten aviation security and to deal with other threats such as bioterrorism after the September 11 attacks in the United States.

"This legislation will increase our capacity to respond quickly and effectively to threats posed by terrorists to the safety and security of Canadians," Transport Minister David Collenette said as he introduced the omnibus bill.

The most prominent measure would require airlines to provide federal authorities with information on all passengers flying into Canada, as well as provide the United States, and other countries requesting such data, with information on passengers flying from Canada.

Listing as terrorist scratches Somali firm

MOGADISHU, Somalia Somalia's only Internet company was forced to close its offices yesterday, two weeks after appearing on a U.S. list of organizations with suspected links to terrorism.

Somali Internet Co. shut down after the United Arab Emirates' state-owned Internet service, Etisalat, canceled its international access, said Abdulkadir Hassan Ahmed Kadleh, administrator for the Somali firm.

"I first thought it was a technical problem, but then when I called the Etisalat company in Dubai, the engineers informed us that it was an intentional freeze down," Mr. Kadleh said.

Iraq denies work on germ weapons

BAGHDAD Iraq yesterday denied U.S. accusations that it has developed and produced biological weapons and said it is Washington that has been researching germ warfare.

"Iraq ended its biological program in 1991 in compliance with the convention that it joined in the same year," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"The United States has unleashed in the past few years a new program for secret researches for biological weapons and not Iraq," he said.

2 Haitian senators saved from mob

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Haitians angry with the government mobbed two senators passing through a town in the Port-au-Prince area yesterday, trapping the legislators inside City Hall for two hours until police rescued them by helicopter.

Sens. Clones Lans and Gerald Gilles were on their way to the capital when about 100 protesters confronted them in the town of St. Marc.

The mob surrounded the building, shouting "Long live [President Jean-Bertrand] Aristide!" and demanding the departure of the government of Prime Minister Jean-Marie Cherestal.

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