- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2002

Chinese official denies bugging Jiang's plane
HONG KONG Former Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng yesterday denied he was behind the reported bugging of a new U.S.-made jetliner ordered for Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
Asked by the media during a visit to Macau about his reported involvement, Mr. Li said he had no knowledge of the matter. "I know absolutely nothing about that," he said in televised comments.
Citing U.S. intelligence reports, The Washington Times reported Friday that the Chinese president believed Mr. Li, head of China's national legislature, ordered the aircraft bugged so he could eavesdrop on Mr. Jiang's discussions of financial corruption related to Mr. Li's wife and children.

Albright voices concern over Ukraine election
KIEV Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright voiced concern yesterday over media freedom to report on Ukraine's parliamentary election in March and urged the government to ensure free and fair balloting.
"We are still in an early part of the electoral process but I do see already some problems and have some concerns," said Mrs. Albright, who now heads a nongovernmental organization, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
"At this moment, it is unclear whether the March 31 elections will mark a step forward for Ukraine's democratic future," she told reporters at the end of a three-day visit to the capital, Kiev.
She said her group had observed or received credible reports of abuses, including intimidation of journalists and illegal use of public funds and facilities.

British provide pilgrims a ride to Saudi Arabia
KABUL, Afghanistan Britain said yesterday it had sent four Hercules aircraft to Kabul to help airlift hundreds of Afghans to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Responding to a request from interim leader Hamid Karzai, Saudi Arabia also had sent a Boeing 747 and Pakistan had provided an Airbus A310 to help transport pilgrims, an Afghan civil aviation authority official said. The United Arab Emirates is sending several aircraft to transport pilgrims, UAE's news agency WAM reported.
About 8,000 frustrated Muslim pilgrims have been camped out in freezing temperatures waiting for flights.

Saudi crown prince meets CIA chief
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Abdullah held talks yesterday with CIA Director George J. Tenet, who is on a tour of the region amid threats of attacks on U.S. targets, Saudi state television said.
Prince Abdullah, the kingdom's de facto ruler, and Mr. Tenet discussed "the international situation and issues of interest to both countries," the television said without providing details.
Mr. Tenet earlier visited Yemen and Egypt and met the Arab countries' presidents.

Coup leader sentenced to death
SUVA, Fiji Fiji's high court today sentenced to death coup leader George Speight after he pleaded guilty to treason.
However, the court of Justice Michael Scott was told by government lawyer Gerard McCoy that the mercy commission will immediately consider an application for clemency.
The state lawyer as well as defense lawyer Ron Cannon vowed the "penalty would not be carried out."
Mr. Cannon said Speight appealed to his supporters not to incite civil unrest after the sentencing.
Mr. Scott, dressed in red robes with a wig, placed a black handkerchief on Speight's head and ordered that he be taken to a local place of execution and "suffer death by hanging, may Lord have mercy on your soul."
Treason charges were dropped against four other offenders.

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