- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2002

Colombia may sign court deal with U.S.

BOGOTA, Colombia The Colombian government indicated yesterday that it will agree to a U.S. request to exempt American troops from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
The request, made earlier this week by a visiting State Department official in Colombia, is part of a global campaign by the Bush administration to shield U.S. military personnel from the reach of the new international war crimes court.
Vice President Francisco Santos said yesterday that he does not foresee the desired immunity pledge as posing any problems for the Colombian government.

Floodwaters peak, then ease in Dresden
DRESDEN, Germany The muddy waters of the Elbe River reached their peak then eased back yesterday, raising hope that the city's restored historic buildings might be spared more damage from the disastrous flooding that has swept much of Europe.
Downstream from Dresden, though, the rain-swollen river spilled over its banks into several more towns of eastern Germany, wrecking roads and railways and chasing thousands of people to higher ground.
In the Czech Republic and Austria, thousands of volunteers and soldiers began cleaning up as rivers slowly receded.

Kashmiri separatists ready for India talks
SRINAGAR, India The main separatist organization in Indian-controlled Kashmir is refusing to participate in elections but said yesterday it has accepted an offer to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Abdul Ghani Bhat, leader of the 23-member All Parties Hurriyat Conference, made the announcement after the group met with a mediator trying to persuade separatists to field candidates in legislative elections that start next month.

Independence Day blasts hurt 15 in Indonesia
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia An assailant hurled a hand grenade into a crowd celebrating Indonesia's Independence Day in the troubled province of Aceh yesterday, injuring 13 persons, police said.
Another explosion badly injured two men in Kuta Baru village on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, witnesses said.
The first blast occurred on a soccer field in Banda Aceh about an hour before a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of Indonesia's independence from Dutch rule in 1945.

Sudan court denies release of Islamist
KHARTOUM, Sudan Sudan's official news agency said yesterday a court had not ordered the release of Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, hours after a Turabi attorney said a ruling had set him free from 19 months in detention.
SUNA quoted the head of the constitutional court, Jalal Ali Lutfi, as saying the judge reviewing the case had not reached a decision yet.
The 71-year-old Islamist ideologue was a central figure in the Islamist government set up by President Omar Hassan Bashir, but Mr. Bashir ended the alliance in 1999 and Mr. Turabi was arrested in February 2001.

Buddhists protest decision on Dalai Lama
MOSCOW Russian police detained 10 Buddhists in Moscow yesterday for their part in a peaceful protest against the government's decision to bar the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, from visiting the country. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday saying it would not allow the Dalai Lama to carry out a planned visit to avoid offending long-standing ally China.
The Dalai Lama, living in exile in India, had planned to travel to Russia in September for the first time in 10 years.

2,500 rally in honor of Hitler's deputy
BERLIN About 2,500 neo-Nazis attended a rally yesterday in memory of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in the southern German town where he is buried, police said.
The rally in the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel passed without violence, police said, despite the presence of about 500 counterdemonstrators. A total of 34 persons were detained for weapons offenses and displaying symbols banned in Germany, such as the Nazi swastika.
Hess, who committed suicide in Berlin's Spandau prison 15 years ago, is a martyr to the extreme right.

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