- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2001

Jane's reports China has new patrol ships
BEIJING China has finished building 20 to 24 navy ships in a new class it will use to bolster its patrols of the South China Sea, including around the disputed Spratly Islands, Jane's Defense Weekly said.
The patrol vessels, set for "imminent operational deployment," bore the markings of China's customs administration but would be staffed by People's Liberation Army naval personnel, Jane's said in a report published late last week.

Macedonia to mull amnesty for rebels
SKOPJE, Macedonia Moving to fulfill a key element of a Western-backed peace plan, Macedonia's parliament plans discussions this week on an amnesty for ethnic Albanian rebels who fought government troops, a legislator said yesterday.
Blagoya Stojkovski of the Social Democratic party said the issue will be formally raised tomorrow, a day after parliament is scheduled to wrap up preliminary voting on constitutional amendments another important ingredient for peace ahead of their final adoption.
"I am very convinced that the law about amnesty will be accepted," he told reporters watching NATO soldiers collect weapons from the rebels near Matejce, 15 miles northeast of the capital, Skopje. The rebels have agreed to hand in 3,300 weapons and disband under the peace plan.

Indian rebels kill 12 paramilitary police
NEW DELHI Twelve paramilitary policemen were killed yesterday and five others were wounded in an attack by Maoist rebels in India's eastern Jharkhand state, police said in a news report.
Nine of the Central Reserve Police Force members were killed when Maoist Communist Center rebels detonated a land mine, police Inspector General Ashok Kumar Sinha told the Press Trust of India.
Another three were killed in a subsequent exchange of fire between the rebels and security forces, he said. India's Maoist rebels, which claim to fight for the rights of the landless poor, have for decades launched sporadic attacks, often targeting government installations.

Colombian rebels grab four foreigners a month
BOGOTA, Colombia Four foreigners a month are kidnapped in Colombia, mainly by Marxists relying on ransom to fund a guerrilla war. The army said yesterday that citizens of Venezuela, Italy and the United States head the list with 27, 24 and 23 kidnap victims, respectively.
The statistics were given in an army statement just a day after one of three German aid workers kidnapped two months ago by Marxist FARC rebels in the country's southwest took advantage of the disarray caused by a military offensive and escaped.
In all, 232 foreigners have been kidnapped since 1996 in Colombia, which had nearly 4,000 kidnappings last year.

Afghanistan's ex-king stands ready to help
ROME Afghanistan's exiled king stands ready to help his country form a transitional government if the Taliban is overthrown, a U.N. envoy said yesterday after meeting the ousted Mohammad Zahir Shah, 86.
Zahir has no ambitions to return to his homeland as monarch, but he "could play an important role in the future of Afghanistan," said Francesc Vendrell, the U.N. chief's personal representative for Afghanistan.
"He has told me of his wish to be of help to the Afghan people," he said.

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