- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2001

Palestinian Authority returns protest video
JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Authority returned yesterday a videotape it had confiscated two days earlier from the Associated Press, but removed were parts of a protest rally led by the militant Islamic group Hamas.
About 1,500 Palestinians, many supporters of Hamas, marched in a Gaza Strip refugee camp on Friday, burning Israeli flags and carrying a poster of Osama bin Laden, named by the U.S. government as the leading suspect behind last week's terrorist attacks in the United States.
After the rally, plainclothes Palestinian police questioned several journalists and confiscated videotape and film from at least four news organizations, including a videotape taken from an Associated Press Television News (APTN) cameraman. AP protested and demanded return of the video. Reuters news agency said the Palestinian Authority returned film taken from a still photographer, and no deletions were made.
The Palestinian Authority returned the AP video on Sunday, but two separate parts of the six-minute tape, totaling about 45 seconds, were removed. APTN did not distribute the video. "There is no merit in running video when key elements have been removed," said Nigel Baker, director of content for APTN.

Fleeing Macedonians to return to villages
TEARCE, Macedonia — Putting peace efforts to the test, the defense minister said yesterday his government planned to start returning Macedonians who fled real or feared violence to ethnic-Albanian populated regions tomorrow.
An outbreak of violence, however, reflected continued ethnic tensions. Police reported a 45-minute firefight between the villages of Semsevo and Zilce, northeast of Tetovo. Police blamed ethnic Albanian "extremists" for the attacks, which came after a similar outbreak between the nearby villages of Ratae and Neprosteno.
Western officials have been concerned over the activities in the area, where a suspected Macedonian paramilitary unit known as the Lions operates. Macedonian authorities say only regular police units are in the area and there was no indication whether the outbreaks were linked to such concerns.
Yesterday's firefight came just hours after Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski visited nearby villages northeast of Tetovo to outline plans for the return of people displaced from the area. Mr. Buckovski said the first group should return tomorrow to the village of Tearce, just north of Tetovo. Returns to Lesok and Neprosteno — also north of Tetovo — would follow.

Forest fire scorches 7,400 acres in France
LE BEAUSSET, France — A forest fire in the hinterland of France's Mediterranean coast yesterday scorched some 7,400 acres in the biggest such blaze this year, a top regional official said.
Daniel Canepa, the central government representative in the Var region, said that although between 150 and 200 people had been evacuated from homes and campsites, no casualties had been reported.
Three thousand people, including 640 firefighters, were fighting the blaze, which was whipped up by the dry northeasterly wind known as the mistral.

Typhoon lashes northern Taiwan
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Tropical storm Nari slammed into northern Taiwan early this morning, triggering mudslides and flash flooding that killed 10 persons.
At least seven persons were missing as sheets of rain flooded homes around the capital, Taipei, emergency officials said.
More than 820,000 homes in the Taipei area were without power, and 1,000 people were evacuated from their houses, officials said.

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