- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Havel: Terror victims did not die in vain

PRAGUE Victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States did not die in vain, Czech President Vaclav Havel said yesterday in his annual New Year's address.

"Their horrific deaths and subsequently their families' sufferings, as well as the shock experienced by the entire world, have alerted us to the evil existing in this world," Mr. Havel said.

He said he hoped the attacks would help "awaken to life all the forces of good that are slumbering within humanity."

Tyson throws fit in visit to Cuba

HAVANA An irate Mike Tyson threw Christmas tree decorations at reporters here yesterday after they discovered the former heavyweight champion spending a New Year's vacation in the capital of communist Cuba.

Journalists had staked out Mr. Tyson in the lobby of a downtown Havana hotel. As the reporters hurried after him asking for an interview, a shirtless and visibly upset Mr. Tyson hurled insults and made a threatening move toward them, but members of his entourage and hotel workers restrained him.

He then walked up to a Christmas tree in the hotel lobby, grabbed decorations and threw them in disgust at the reporters. Hotel officials then asked the journalists to leave. According to hotel workers, Mr. Tyson will return to the United States today.

Colombian rebels attack towns; 3 killed

BOGOTA, Colombia Colombian rebels attacked four towns over the New Year holiday, killing at least two police officers on the eve of planned peace talks, the military said.

One rebel was killed during the assaults by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The attacks came in advance of meetings tomorrow aimed at starting cease-fire talks.

The guerrillas attacked the western towns of Purace and Cocunuco with machine guns and homemade mortars late Monday, damaging houses and destroying the towns' police posts, the military said.

Saudi Arabia, Iran hit 'campaign' against Islam

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia and Iran have issued a joint statement condemning what they call a vicious Western media campaign against Islam since the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.

In the statement issued by the Iranian parliament and the Saudi Shura Council late Monday at the end of a visit by Iranian parliament Speaker Mahdi Karrubi, both deeply Muslim countries pledged to confront the Western image of Islam and to make known that the religion stands for peace and justice.

"The two countries condemn the vicious media campaign against the lofty principles and values of Islam and consider it a conspiracy to deface the image of Islam and to weaken the Islamic and Arab nations," the statement said.

Japan plans push for space shuttle

TOKYO Japan will push ahead with plans to launch a manned space shuttle in an effort to catch up with space pioneers such as the United States and Russia, a newspaper said yesterday.

The Japanese government will this year iron out details of a project to build a reusable space shuttle, with a first budget expected in fiscal 2003, the Sankei newspaper said, without citing sources.

The Sankei said Japan would need from 10 to 15 years to develop a shuttle able to carry humans into space, with an estimated budget of $3.81 billion to $5.34 billion.

Pope condemns war in God's name

VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul II said yesterday that violence in God's name was never justified and that a "cry of blood" in the Holy Land must persuade Christians, Muslims and Jews to seek peace.

Speaking on the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, the pontiff said "perverse interests" threatened to turn the world into a "theater of war."

"Throughout the world, a piercing cry invoking peace rings out," he said in a sermon in St. Peter's Basilica.

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