- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 28, 2002

PAKISTAN

Police hunt suspects in church bombing

LAHORE Police said yesterday they were hunting for five more suspects in the Christmas Day grenade attack on a church in this mainly Islamic nation.

Six men were arrested earlier in the attack on about 40 worshippers in Chianwala, 40 miles northwest of Lahore.

The government said it would pay $1,700 to relatives of each of the three girls killed in the attack, and $430 to each of the 13 injured.


IVORY COAST

French troops clash with rebels

ABIDJAN French troops skirmished with rebels in western Ivory Coast yesterday for the second time in a week as reinforcements prepared to land in the former French colony with more firepower.

French soldiers were initially mandated to protect some 20,000 French citizens, but have stepped up their involvement in the country since two splinter rebel groups seized key towns near the western border with Liberia.


NETHERLANDS

Charity assets frozen for suspected links

AMSTERDAM The Dutch government has frozen the assets of a charity because it suspected the group of having links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the newspaper NRC Handelsblad said yesterday.

The assets of Benevolence International Nederland were frozen after an investigation by the Dutch secret service showed it was part of the U.S. Muslim charity Benevolence International Foundation. In October, U.S. prosecutors charged the head of the group with funneling funds to al Qaeda.


IRELAND

U.S. ambassador submits resignation

Richard J. Egan, the billionaire co-founder of EMC Corp., has submitted his resignation as U.S. ambassador to Ireland, a Bush administration official said yesterday.

Mr. Egan, 67, was not available for comment, but he told his staff he was leaving the post for personal reasons.


ZIMBABWE

Fuel crisis eases, but supplies uncertain

HARARE A severe fuel shortage that almost brought Zimbabwe to a halt this month is starting to ease, but oil-industry sources said yesterday supplies remain uncertain owing to a foreign-currency crunch.

The three-week fuel shortage spilled into the Christmas holiday, leaving motorists and commuters stranded. The economy of the southern African nation has been in recession for four years and is expected to shrink by about 10 percent in 2003.


RUSSIA

Peace Corps barred after spying charge

MOSCOW Russia will no longer accept Peace Corps volunteers, after suggesting the workers were spying, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday. The decision comes after increasing Russian criticism of the corps, ranging from the volunteers' purported lack of training to their suspected ties with American security services.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Russia is grateful for the corps' assistance, but its needs have changed since 1992, when the volunteers first started going to Russia.

Earlier this year, Russia refused to issue entry visas for new volunteers or to extend the visas of 30 of the 64 already in the country.


GUATEMALA

Inmates run prison since deadly riot

FRAIJANES Three days after a brutal Christmas Eve riot in a medium-security jail left 14 prisoners dead, inmates are refusing to let authorities inside and are running the prison themselves.

Simmering gang tension inside Pavoncito jail outside Guatemala City turned a Dec. 23 protest over squalid conditions into a full-blown riot in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

Hundreds of police surrounding the cinder-block jail are confident no prisoners can escape, but yesterday, inmates were guarding the entrance and authorities still had not set foot inside for fear they could be attacked.

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