- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2002

Israelis, Palestinians postpone meeting

JERUSALEM Israeli officials postponed high-level talks with the Palestinians yesterday, saying they needed more time to consult before discussing ways to improve the humanitarian situation in Palestinian areas.
Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said the meeting last night was to have covered political, economic and security issues, but an Israeli official said it was only to have discussed improving humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians.
The official said the meeting would be rescheduled after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and other key ministers, expected early this week.

Hezbollah chief denies al Qaeda links
BEIRUT The leader of Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim militia Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, yesterday denied U.S. accusations his group has links to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
Sheik Nasrallah was responding to charges made by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham after a recent Middle East tour, as well as U.S. media reports that charge that Hezbollah and al Qaeda, blamed for the September 11 attacks, cooperate in logistics and training.
"There is no link with al Qaeda not before and not now and not for religious or ideological reasons but for political reasons," Sheik Nasrallah told the Arab satellite channel MBC.

U.S. pays N. Korea for MIA searches
SEOUL A U.S. government representative handed a bundle of cash to a North Korean colonel to help finance searches for the remains of American soldiers missing in action from the Korean War.
The cash transaction, which took place at the border village of Panmunjom on Wednesday, was part of an agreement reached last month in Bangkok between U.S. and North Korean officials on a new round of joint searches for the remains of American MIAs from the 1950-53 Korean War.
South Korean news reports said the United States agreed to pay North Korea at least $3 million for three 30-day searches this year that will begin on July 20.
U.S. forensic experts have conducted 22 operations in the North since 1996 and recovered remains believed to be those of 152 American soldiers. Eleven have been identified. More than 8,100 American military personnel remain missing and unaccounted for from the war.

Mexican protesters take more hostages
SAN SALVADOR ATENCO, Mexico Farmers armed with machetes and homemade bombs took three more hostages yesterday, demanding talks with federal officials in the standoff over construction of a new airport for the Mexican capital.
So far, 15 persons are being held by about 1,000 protesters who oppose the airport's construction and have barricaded themselves in a government building on the outskirts of the capital since Thursday.
President Vicente Fox's government has largely stayed out of the clash, saying the construction of a new $2.3 billion airport that will gobble up much of the town of San Salvador Atenco and other nearby communities will continue as planned.

U.S. convoy fired on near Kabul
BAGRAM, Afghanistan A U.S. convoy came under fire while traveling along a road linking this air base with the capital, Kabul, in the latest shooting incident involving American forces, U.S. officials said yesterday.
No one was injured in the incident, which occurred before dusk Friday, Col. Robert King said. One tracer round was seen passing above the four-vehicle convoy, he said.

Iran bans newspaper for comments on cleric
TEHRAN An Iranian court has banned a pro-reform newspaper for publishing comments on the resignation of a liberal cleric.
Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri quit as Friday prayer leader in the central city of Isfahan this week, hitting out at purported abuses of power among the clerical elite. Soon afterward, the powerful Supreme National Security Council moved to smother the row by banning newspapers from publishing comment on the issue.

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