- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2002

Mexican hostage-takers continue airport protest
SAN SALVADOR ATENCO, Mexico Hundreds of irate farmers armed with machetes and gasoline bombs and holding about 10 hostages extended a protest for a fourth day against plans to build a new international airport outside Mexico City.
Men and women, weary but defiant, gathered yesterday in the streets here, about 18 miles from Mexico City, prepared for a fight if hundreds of police ringing the town tried to rescue the hostages.
Early yesterday, federal and state authorities were holed up in the capital seeking a solution to end the four-day standoff.

Police brace for trouble ahead of Pearl verdict
HYDERABAD, Pakistan Police and soldiers searched vehicles and patrolled the streets in armored personnel carriers yesterday, a day before the expected verdict in the trial of four Islamic militants accused of the kidnapping and slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
The prosecution has demanded the death penalty for British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, accused of masterminding the kidnapping, and three others. Seven suspects remain at large.
The trial has fanned the anger of Islamic militants against Pakistan's government, which many militants feel betrayed them by abandoning the Afghan Taliban.

Tour guide sought in Pakistan attack
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Police want to question the tour guide who accompanied a group of German and other foreign tourists who were injured in an explosion at an archaeological site in Pakistan, an official said yesterday.
The guide disappeared from the site soon after the blast, which authorities said might have been caused by a grenade thrown at the tourists. Police were investigating whether religious extremists were responsible.
A dozen people were injured in the blast in Mansehra, about 170 miles north of Peshawar.

Libya's Gadhafi roadshow rolls into Mozambique
MAPUTO, Mozambique Moammar Gadhafi, surrounded by armored cars and female bodyguards, arrived in Mozambique yesterday on the second leg of a regional tour that follows the Libyan leader's push for influence at an African summit.
Mr. Gadhafi's 400-strong member entourage, traveling in a 60-car convoy, was cheered by hundreds as the motorcade arrived in Maputo's main square.

China defends buildup as peaceful in nature
BEIJING China's Foreign Ministry said the country's military policy was defensive after the Pentagon accused Beijing of honing credible options to attack Taiwan, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
"China is a peace-loving country. Its national defense policy is defensive in nature," Xinhua quoted foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan as saying. "Its national defense expenditure is the lowest among big powers."

Egypt jails policemen about torture death
CAIRO A court in Egypt jailed three policemen for five years each yesterday after they were convicted of torturing a man to death during an interrogation, security sources said.
The sources said the police had whipped the 38-year-old man while interrogating him in a Cairo police station last year in an attempt to find out the whereabouts of his brother, wanted by the police in a theft case.

Iran's president rejects U.S. interference
TEHRAN President Mohammed Khatami, responding to President Bush's comments in support of the reform movement here, denounced the American leader yesterday as a "warmonger" with a false view of events.
Many reformers fear that statements of support from the United States seen as Iran's most bitter enemy could hurt their cause.
Mr. Bush on Friday denounced Iran's "uncompromising, destructive policies" and expressed support for Iranians rallying behind a popular Islamic cleric who resigned last week to protest hard-liners' control over the country.

South African military described as unfit
JOHANNESBURG Most of South Africa's army is either unfit or too old to be deployed, a military briefing to the parliament's defense committee found, according to a report yesterday.
The briefing indicated the South African National Defense Force effectively could deploy just one operational brigade of 3,000 soldiers out of the army's 76,000, one of Africa's biggest forces on paper, the Sunday Independent newspaper reported.
Just four of 168 tanks and eight of 242 armored cars were operational, said the military briefing.

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