- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2002

BRITAIN
Task force ordered to sail for the Gulf
LONDON Britain's Royal Navy will dispatch a task force to the Persian Gulf at the start of January as the country begins its military buildup to a war with Iraq, sources told the London Telegraph.
The aircraft carrier Ark Royal will lead a six-vessel fleet that includes a destroyer, a frigate and a submarine. The ships will sail directly to the Middle East.
An announcement on the dispatch of about 20,000 British troops is expected within two weeks.

WEST BANK
Arafat to bin Laden: Hands off Palestine
JERUSALEM Yasser Arafat told Osama bin Laden yesterday to stop saying that he was fighting for the Palestinians.
"Why is bin Laden talking about Palestine now?" Mr. Arafat was quoted as saying in an interview with Britain's Sunday Times. "He never helped us. He was working in another, completely different area and against our interests."
A terror group based in Somalia and linked to bin Laden's terror network al Qaeda claimed responsibility for bombing Israeli targets in Kenya last month and dedicated the attacks to the Palestinians.

RUSSIA
Intelligence chief says Americans were spying
MOSCOW Russia expelled a U.S. diplomat in April for spying and denied visa extensions to 30 U.S. Peace Corps volunteers for "gathering secret information" this year, the head of Russian domestic intelligence said yesterday.
Nikolai Patrushev said that the FSB intelligence group had "cut short CIA attempts to secure secret data about new Russian research into weapons."
Mr. Patrushev said two Russian nationals had been seized in April as information was being handed over by U.S. Embassy Third Secretary Yunju Gensinger.

HONG KONG
Protest march targets proposed sedition law
HONG KONG Tens of thousands of people took part yesterday in one of the territory's biggest marches in years, denouncing plans for an anti-subversion law that they fear will erode freedom and civil liberties.
Holding banners, black balloons and pumping their fists in the air, the protesters marched to government headquarters. Police said about 12,000 people turned out, while organizers put the number at 25,000.
"This evil law will embroil Hong Kong, heaven and earth forbid," marchers chanted in the biggest display of public outrage since the government disclosed the law in September.

ITALY
Popular daytime show drops Monica Lewinsky
ROME Italian television usually loves sex and scandal, but putting Monica Lewinsky on daytime TV on a Sunday close to Christmas was apparently too much for some.
Miss Lewinsky was to have been the star guest on "Domenica In" (Sunday In), a talk show that offers a mix of dances, sport and interviews with such guests as priests and pop stars.
But some politicians were outraged that state broadcaster RAI planned to use public money to pay Miss Lewinsky's expenses for an interview on a Sunday close to Christmas. Network executives yanked her off the show late Saturday.

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