- The Washington Times - Friday, April 5, 2002

Pakistan arrests more al Qaeda suspects

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Expanding their raids against al Qaeda hide-outs, police arrested 21 persons in a remote part of northern Pakistan, officials said yesterday. The eight-day operation netted more than 100 suspected members of the terror network, among them a top deputy of Osama bin Laden.

Police said the latest arrests took place Wednesday night in the city of Mansehra in the North West Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan. The suspects purportedly belonged to the outlawed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, or Movement of Holy Warriors, an extremist group that is part of bin Laden's terror network.

China denies report of missile buildup

BEIJING China yesterday denied a report in The Washington Times it had deployed a new batch of missiles against Taiwan.

"The report has ulterior motives and is to confuse public opinion," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue as saying at a regular press conference.

The Times reported Tuesday that U.S. intelligence agencies had tracked a shipment of some 20 CSS-7 short-range missiles to a missile base near the town of Yongan in Fujian province near the coast opposite Taiwan.

Russian official denies weapons supply to Iran

ATHENS Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov denied yesterday that Russia had supplied Iran with military technology or weapons of mass destruction.

After meeting his Greek counterpart, Yannos Papandoniou, Mr. Ivanov said Russia was participating in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran, adding it was under international supervision and did not have the capability to produce plutonium. He said, however, there was military cooperation between Russia and Iran.

Rwandan musician pleads not guilty

ARUSHA, Tanzania A Rwandan musician accused of writing songs and poems that incited the killings of ethnic Tutsis in 1994 pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide before a U.N. tribunal yesterday.

Simon Bikindi, 48, who was arrested in the Netherlands last year, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, northern Tanzania: "Loyally and honestly, I plead not guilty." Mr. Bikindi burst into laughter at one point as the crimes were read out.

Photographers cleared in Diana's death

PARIS France's highest court yesterday upheld the dismissal of manslaughter charges against nine photographers and a press motorcyclist in the car crash that killed Princess Diana, ending years of court battles over who was responsible for her death.

Diana, her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, died in the Aug. 31, 1997, crash at the Alma traffic tunnel in Paris. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived, but suffered severe facial injuries.

Yesterday, the Court of Cassation dismissed an appeal filed by Mohamed al-Fayed, father of Dodi, in September 1999 after a French judge ruled that drugs and alcohol taken by Mr. Paul, as well as excessive speed, caused the deaths.

Oil workers' protest spreads in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela Dissenting employees of Venezuela's state oil giant PDVSA yesterday sharply intensified a 5-week-old labor protest, raising the threat of serious disruption to deliveries by the world's No. 4 oil exporter.

But the company's president promised to deal firmly with the protesters, who were opposing government-ordered management changes, and pledged the company's domestic and international oil shipments would be guaranteed.

An all-out strike in PDVSA, which exports more than 2 million barrels per day of crude and refined products, could cripple the country's oil-reliant economy. Venezuela is also a leading supplier of oil to the United States.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) President Gaston Parra made his warning after protesting executives and staff at Latin America's biggest oil company staged surprise work stoppages in Caracas as well as offices, refineries and other installations across the oil-rich country.

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