- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2001

U.S. Navy team inspects Colombo port

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka A U.S. Navy team is in war-torn Sri Lanka to inspect facilities at the main Colombo port for a possible visit by American warships, officials said this week.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy here said the visit was routine and did not mean the port would be used by U.S. ships massing in the region for a possible attack on Afghanistan. "This visit has been scheduled for almost one year," said a U.S. diplomat.

Sri Lanka has offered unreserved support to the United States in its campaign against Afghanistan's Taliban rulers sheltering Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden, suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks on America.

Zia seeks quick rule after landslide win

DHAKA, Bangladesh Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia hoped on Thursday to rapidly form a new government after her landmark victory in this week's general election, despite angry calls by her defeated rival for fresh balloting.

Mrs. Zia, whose Islamist-allied alliance secured a record two-thirds of seats, held a series of meetings late Wednesday with President Shahabuddin Ahmed and the country's caretaker chief Latifur Rahman and told them she wanted to form a new government immediately.

But the Awami League of outgoing Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajed rejected the outcome, charging that its crushing defeat was a result of vote-rigging.

A deadly week in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India Sixteen persons died in fresh separatist violence Wednesday and Thursday in Indian Kashmir, where a suicide bomber killed 38 persons on Monday, police said.

Three militants of the Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen group were killed in a clash with security forces in Doda district, 110 miles east of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, a defense official said.

Three Indian soldiers were killed and several wounded when a bomb planted in a corpse went off near the Pakistan border on Wednesday. "A group of soldiers on a patrol saw a dead body at Uri sector. As soon as the soldiers tried to lift the body, a bomb planted in the body went off, killing three soldiers on the spot," a police official said.

Suspected separatist guerrillas also beheaded two persons in Kupwara district, police said.

Weekly notes

Burma's reclusive former dictator Gen. Ne Win, 90, has fallen seriously ill at a Singapore hospital, sources close to his family said Thursday. A Thai military intelligence source said the former autocrat, who seized power in Burma, which he renamed Myanmar, in 1962 and stepped down in 1988, had slipped into a coma and was unlikely to recover. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the U.N.'s human rights envoy to Burma, will begin a 12-day visit to the country on Tuesday amid hopes that a dialogue between the military government and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will produce a breakthrough.

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