- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2001

Taliban detain British journalist
LONDON Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia arrested a British journalist yesterday. A spokeswoman for the weekly paper Sunday Express said Yvonne Ridley, one of its reporters, was detained near the eastern city of Jalalabad.
According to a Taliban spokesman, Miss Ridley was arrested together with two guides about nine miles from the Pakistani border, near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
"She was wearing Afghan dress," a Taliban spokesman said, adding that Miss Ridley "was not carrying any passport and had entered Afghanistan illegally."

Chechens talk with Russia
MOSCOW A top aide to separatist Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov said yesterday that he has held initial talks with a senior Kremlin envoy on ways to end the two-year war in Chechnya.
"I spoke with the special presidential envoy in southern Russia, Viktor Kazantsev," Akhmed Zakayev told an interviewer.
"This is the first contact between the Chechen and Russian sides, and there were no such contacts before this."
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a 72-hour ultimatum for Chechen rebels to lay down their arms.
Russian troops stormed into Chechnya on Oct. 1, 1999, launching an "anti-terrorist" operation that has since degenerated into a brutal guerrilla war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 federal troops and killed an undisclosed number of rebels and civilians.

Italy's Berlusconi: Remarks misconstrued
ROME Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, widely denounced for asserting that Western civilization was superior to Islam, said yesterday his words had been distorted and he had not meant to give offense.
The billionaire businessman-turned-politician told reporters during a visit to Germany Wednesday that the West should be aware of "the superiority" of its civilization, saying it created wealth and guaranteed respect for human rights.
Hit by international indignation over the comments, Mr. Berlusconi told the Italian upper house of parliament that his political enemies had willfully misinterpreted him.

Iran contemplates joining war
NICOSIA, Cyprus Two days after Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, resoundingly rejected joining the anti-terrorist coalition, one of his close colleagues, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, hinted that the Islamic republic could become an ally.
"Despite all the differences [Tehran and Washington] have and if the U.S. does not want to impose its ideas, we can become a member of a U.N.-led anti-terror coalition," said Mr. Rafsanjani, who heads Iran's powerful Expediency Council.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi expressed a similar view in a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Venezuela seeks cause of terrorism
CARACAS Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday urged the world to search for the causes of terrorism, instead of merely hunting for terrorists and punishing them.
"The world is not viable the way it is going. We cannot limit ourselves merely to condemning terrorists, tracking them down and punishing them.
"No. We would be very simplistic if we did that," Mr. Chavez said in a speech before the National Assembly, aired on local radio and television stations.
Mr. Chavez insisted the world must fight "not just the effects of the phenomenon," but its causes as well, reiterating his "overwhelming condemnation" of the "abominable" Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York's World Trade Center and on the Pentagon.
The attacks left more than 6,000 persons dead or missing.

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