- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2002

Koizumi visits controversial shrine
TOKYO Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a surprise visit today to a controversial shrine devoted to Japan's war dead, a move likely to anger Asian neighbors.
Speaking to reporters as he departed for Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo, Mr. Koizumi said he was visiting the shrine because the "timing is good," Kyodo News reported.
The prime minister's press secretary, Misako Kaji, confirmed Mr. Koizumi visited the shrine early today.
Mr. Koizumi's previous trip to the shrine where convicted war criminals are among those worshipped infuriated Asian countries with bitter memories of Japanese imperial brutality during World War II. Mr. Koizumi last visited the shrine on Aug. 13, two days before the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender.

4 Venezuelan generals die in helicopter crash
CARACAS, Venezuela Venezuela's new air force commander and three other generals died in a helicopter crash, officials said yesterday, adding to the blows suffered by a military already split by a failed coup against President Hugo Chavez last week.
Gen. Luis Alfonso Acevedo was among 10 airmen who were killed Friday when their helicopter crashed in forests, likely due to bad weather, the military said.
Gen. Acevedo, who took over as air force commander in post-coup shakeups on April 17, was in one of three French-built Super Puma helicopters carrying top officers back from the installation of a new navy commander at Mamo, 20 miles north of Caracas.
Also killed were Brig. Gens. Pedro Torres Fino, the air force operations commander, Rafael Quintana Bello, personnel chief, and Julio Cesar Ochoa, who worked for the general staff, and six lower-ranking personnel.

Bodies of Canadians brought home
TRENTON, Ontario The bodies of four Canadian soldiers accidentally killed by a U.S. bomb in Afghanistan were welcomed home with a solemn ceremony yesterday, as Canadians expressed grief and anger over the accidental deaths.
An Airbus carrying their remains touched down at the Canadian Forces Base here on Lake Ontario's shore, met by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, the country's top military officials and grieving relatives.
The soldiers who were killed Sgt. Marc Leger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Private Richard Green and Private Nathan Smith came from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, which is based north of Edmonton, Alberta, and provides the bulk of the troop commitment to Afghanistan.

Top opposition leader returns home to Iran
TEHRAN Iran's top opposition leader returned home from the United States yesterday in defiance of an arrest warrant on charges of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic.
Ebrahim Yazdi, a former government minister and close aide to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, left the country more than a year ago to undergo cancer therapy in Houston.
Iran's hard-line Revolutionary Court had issued an arrest warrant on charges of subversion for the leading dissident intellectual and head of a banned pro-democracy reformist political party, the Freedom Movement of Iran.
Mr. Yazdi, 70, served as foreign minister in Iran's first provisional post-revolutionary government in 1979. He accompanied Ayatollah Khomeini when the founder of the Islamic Republic triumphantly flew home from exile in France in February 1979 in the final days of the U.S.-backed monarchy.

Car bomb explodes in Spain's Basque region
MADRID A car bomb exploded in Spain's Basque region yesterday, but an advance telephoned warning gave police time to clear the area and avoid casualties.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the outlawed Basque separatist group ETA has carried out many similar attacks.

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