- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2002

Rugova loses presidential vote

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia Veteran ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova suffered a major setback in his bid to become president of Kosovo yesterday, failing twice to win enough support in the Yugoslav province's new legislature.

The outcome means Kosovo remains without a president and government almost two months after a historic election that was designed to implement substantial self-government under a United Nations umbrella.

The assembly's failure so far to pick a president will disappoint Western powers, which have urged Kosovo's newly elected leaders to show they are ready to face the challenge of governing 21/2 years after the 1999 conflict ended.

In yesterday's two rounds of voting, which followed a ballot on the issue last month, Mr. Rugova received the backing of 50 and 51 deputies, respectively, in the 120-seat assembly.

Russia lifts cordon on Chechen city

MOSCOW Russian troops lifted their blockade of Chechnya's third-largest city yesterday after a roundup of suspected rebels that prompted clashes and protests by residents over abuses by servicemen, news reports said.

Only a few women and children had been allowed in or out of Argun since Sunday. The town over the past week saw some of the heaviest fighting in Chechnya in months, with heavy Russian shelling in an effort to flush out militants believed hiding there.

Russian officials said Wednesday the operation had been completed, but the cordon was lifted only yesterday, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. Pro-Moscow Chechen officials and other residents who had been barred from entering were allowed back.

Fujimori faces public after months in exile

TOKYO Disgraced former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori emerged from self-imposed exile to defend his record yesterday, giving a lecture at a Japanese university on his fight against leftist guerrillas.

Mr. Fujimori, who is wanted on charges of corruption and sponsoring death squads in Peru, faced dozens of protesters outside the gates of Tokyo's Takushoku University.

Without mentioning the accusations of human rights abuses leveled against him, he took credit in his speech for destroying the Shining Path rebel insurgency and freeing Peru from "an atmosphere of fear."

The once-flamboyant Mr. Fujimori has lived almost as a hermit since he sought refuge in Japan in November 2000. He has communicated with the outside world mainly through his Internet site, "From Tokyo."

Swiss firm on terror list goes into liquidation

BELLINZONA, Switzerland A Muslim-run financial firm accused by the United States of helping fund Osama bin Laden's terrorist network has gone into liquidation, with executives blaming Washington for its fate.

The register of commerce published this week in the southern Swiss state of Ticino said the Nada Management Organization went into liquidation early last month.

Nada, formerly known as the Al-Taqwa organization, was founded in 1988 and was run from Lugano, Switzerland, by its Egyptian-born managing director, Youssef M. Nada, and his Syrian-born associate, Ali Himat. Company officials have repeatedly denied links to terrorism.

The company was on President Bush's Nov. 7 list of organizations accused of helping fund terrorism.

Diana's butler faces theft trial

LONDON Princess Diana's former butler was ordered yesterday to stand trial in the fall on charges of stealing hundreds of items belonging to the late princess and other members of the royal family.

Paul Burrell, 43, who is free on bail, faces three counts of theft for purportedly taking 328 items, including letters, a bullwhip, records and CDs from Diana, Prince Charles and Prince William on or before June 30, 1998, at Kensington Palace. His trial was set for Oct. 14.

He has said the items were given to him by Diana for safekeeping. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

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