- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2002

VENEZUELA
Protesters injured as strike continues
CARACAS Several people were wounded when supporters and foes of President Hugo Chavez engaged in street clashes yesterday, as a strike that strangled the oil sector entered its fifth week.
The incident started after a small group of anti-Chavez protesters outside a police station clashed with Chavez supporters from a nearby slum.
At least four persons were injured in clashes amid rising tension in Venezuela, where a 29-day-old strike caused severe gasoline shortages.

PAKISTAN
President was ready for unconventional war
KARACHI Pakistan's president said yesterday that he had been prepared for an "unconventional" war against India earlier this year, but a spokesman later said he was not referring to nuclear weapons.
In a speech, President Pervez Musharraf said he sent messages to India that if Indian troops moved a single step across the disputed border, "they should not expect a conventional war from Pakistan."

AUSTRALIA
Immigrants riot at detention center
CANBERRA Trouble spread to one of Australia's immigrant detention centers yesterday with riot police called to quell a small uprising after a wave of suspected arson attacks in three other camps.
Immigration officials said four detainees were arrested after a protest yesterday at a camp in Perth in Western Australia.

TURKMENISTAN
Ex-foreign minister gets life sentence
ASHGABAT Turkmenistan's high court rapidly convicted and sentenced a former foreign minister to 25 years in prison yesterday for plotting an attempt to kill the president. A hand-picked assembly of the president's loyalists then increased the sentence to life in prison. The sentencing came a day after the former minister, Boris Shikhmuradov, was shown in a videotape on state-run television confessing to trying to assassinate President Saparmurat Niyazov.

IVORY COAST
Rebels hand over American missionary
ABIDJAN U.S. missionary William Foster was handed over to French soldiers yesterday after weeks caught behind rebel lines by fighting in western Ivory Coast, the international Red Cross said. Dr. Foster, a Lutheran physician, had been living for the past eight years near the West African country's border with Liberia.

AFGHANISTAN
U.S. soldier hurt in gunbattle
BAGRAM An American soldier was wounded in eastern Afghanistan in a gunbattle with enemy fighters near the border with Pakistan, the U.S. military said yesterday.
The soldier, who was grazed in the head by a gunshot from an AK-47 Sunday afternoon, was evacuated to Bagram Air Base and later flown to Germany.
Earlier this month, a U.S. soldier was killed in a firefight in eastern Afghanistan.

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