- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

4 key ministers quit Sri Lankan government
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka The government was plunged into new political turmoil when four senior ministers resigned Thursday, calling the minority government's new Marxist allies an obstacle to peace and economic growth.
The resignations came a week after President Chandrika Kumaratunga reopened the suspended parliament and restored a measure of political stability by signing a one-year coalition with the Peoples' Liberation Front (JVP).
The ministers said they would not seek positions in the new 20-member Cabinet. As per the terms of the coalition, the number of ministers has been halved.
The deal topped the list of grievances set out by Aviation Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Constitutional Affairs Minister Gamini Peiris, Environment Minister Mahinda Wijesekera and Welfare Minister S.B. Dissanayake in a letter to Mrs. Kumaratunga.

14 die in Kashmir in midweek violence
SRINAGAR, India The insurgency in India's Jammu and Kashmir state claimed at least 23 lives, including 14 suspected rebels, who were shot dead by Indian soldiers while trying to cross from Pakistan.
"Security forces foiled three infiltration bids along the Line of Control overnight and killed 14 terrorists at Congdor, Pharkian Gali and Tangdhar," an army spokesman said Thursday, referring to the previous night.
The 470-mile Line of Control, or cease-fire line, divides Kashmir between archenemies India and Pakistan. Later Thursday, Indian police shot dead three militants in another gun battle in south Kashmir, police said. Five civilians and a militant also were killed in separate shootouts across the state.
India, which controls 45 percent of the disputed Himalayan region, blames Pakistan for fomenting the revolt against New Delhi's rule in the country's only Muslim-majority state.

Bomb wounds two at Bangladesh hotel
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh Two persons were wounded when a bomb exploded in a hotel in a hilly district in southeastern Bangladesh on Thursday, police said.
Another explosive device was found in a police van used to take the wounded to hospital but it was disabled before it went off, the private Ekushey television added.
The explosion occurred in a hotel in the lakeside tourist town of Rangamati, 135 miles from the capital Dhaka.
It was not clear whether the incident was linked to ongoing political violence ahead of the Oct. 1 national elections that has left more than 80 people dead and hundreds injured since July.

Diplomats discuss aid for Northern Alliance
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan Senior diplomats from Russia, India, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan met here Thursday and discussed possible assistance to anti-Taliban forces, a diplomatic source said.
At the meeting,an official of the Afghan opposition Northern Alliance confirmed that a new military chief was standing in for leader Ahmad Shah Masood. The anti-Taliban forces deny Mr. Masood was killed in an assassination attempt last weekend but admit he was injured.
An official at Afghanistan's embassy in Dushanbe, still controlled by the ousted government that is a member of the Northern Alliance, confirmed that Gen. Muhammad Fahim had taken over for Mr. Masood on Tuesday.

Weekly notes
Pakistan military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf pledged full cooperation against terrorism to President Bush this week and Thursday received the credentials of new U.S. Ambassador Wendy J. Chamberlin. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had discussed Tuesday's attacks on the United States with Gen. Musharraf on Wednesday. … Russian border guards have seized nearly 2 tons of heroin on the Tajik-Afghan border since the beginning of the year, their commander Gen. Sergei Jilkin told the army newspaper Red Star this week. He said the 2000 total was barely higher than the amount confiscated just in August, which was 675 kilograms.

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