- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 6, 2002

Nobel panel members criticize Israel's Peres

OSLO In a rare comment on former laureates, two members of the Nobel Peace Prize committee criticized 1994 winner Shimon Peres yesterday for being party to Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

The Israeli foreign minister shared the prize with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for efforts that led to the now-tattered 1993 Oslo peace agreement.

Committee member Hanna Kvanmo said Mr. Peres was condoning violence by participating in the government of hard-line Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Committee member Gunnar Staalsett, the Lutheran bishop of Oslo, also criticized Mr. Peres' actions. Another member, Sissel Roenbeck, urged Mr. Peres to return to a policy of peace and dialogue.

Zimbabwe arrests hundreds of activists

HARARE, Zimbabwe Police have arrested 354 activists as they organized protests against disputed presidential elections, in what critics say is the latest example of President Robert Mugabe's efforts to turn Zimbabwe into a police state.

The activists were arrested Thursday as they met at a church-run hostel in Harare to prepare for weekend demonstrations to protest Mr. Mugabe's victory in last month's elections, organizer Lovemore Madhuku said yesterday.

Uzbek parliament extends Karimov's term

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan Uzbekistan's parliament voted yesterday to hold the next presidential elections in December 2007, adding two years to the term of President Islam Karimov, who has ruled since Soviet times.

The move came after the presidential term was extended from five to seven years in a January referendum criticized by human rights groups as a bid by Mr. Karimov for more power.

Mr. Karimov, 64, became Uzbekistan's Communist Party chief in 1989 and was elected president shortly before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

U.S. receives threats against Afghan forces

BAGRAM, Afghanistan The U.S.-led coalition has received more "credible threats" of violence against its members and journalists in Afghanistan, including pamphlets found in the east offering a reward for the capture or killing of members of the allied force, a military spokesman said yesterday.

Attacks could include rockets, mortars and car bombs, Maj. Bryan Hilferty said at Bagram air base in central Afghanistan.

He said the leaflets were found last week in Paktia, the eastern province where much of the fighting has taken place. They offer $50,000 for a Westerner delivered dead and $100,000 for one who is alive, he said.

Singapore says militant planned to crash plane

SINGAPORE A Singaporean member of an Islamic militant group linked to al Qaeda is suspected of planning to hijack a plane and crash it into the city-state's international airport, Singapore's prime minister said yesterday.

The suspect belongs to Jemaah Islamiyah, a group implicated in a suspected plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy and other Western targets in Singapore, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told Parliament.

Mr. Goh identified the suspect as Mas Selemat Kastari. He is believed to have fled to Thailand in January.

Would-be space tourist gets closer to dream

STAR CITY, Russia Mark Shuttleworth, the second would-be space tourist to pay his way into the cosmos, took another step closer to fulfilling his dream yesterday.

Joined by his fellow crew members, Italian Roberto Vettori and Russian Yuri Gidzenko, at the Star City space training center outside Moscow, Mr. Shuttleworth had to take a training test that a state space commission had set for him.

But the native South African felt confident that, after months of thorough training, all would go well. The crew is due to blast off around April 25 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Mr. Shuttleworth is following in the footsteps of American Dennis Tito, the first so-called "space tourist" to pay for a trip into orbit.

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