- The Washington Times - Monday, June 17, 2002

Pope pays tribute to suffering monk
VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul II, who himself once turned to Padre Pio seeking a cure for an ailing friend, raised the mystic Italian monk to sainthood yesterday to the cheers of 200,000 pilgrims sweltering in temperatures near 100 degrees.
The crowd, jamming St. Peter's Square and nearby streets, was one of the biggest ever in this 23-year-old papacy. City authorities said about 500 pilgrims, some of whom fainted or suffered sunstroke, needed medical attention.
Padre Pio died in 1968 after living for decades with inexplicable, bleeding wounds on hands and feet, like the wounds Jesus suffered at crucifixion. In Italy, images of the bearded Capuchin monk are everywhere from taxi dashboards to refrigerator magnets to key chains.

U.S. Muslim visitors turned back by Israel
JERUSALEM Israel barred a group of 20 U.S. Muslims from entering the country yesterday, holding them under guard at the airport before putting them on a flight back to the United States, police and a member of the group said.
Washington-area resident Margaret Zaknoen, program organizer for the group, American Muslims for Jerusalem, said her delegation had planned to hold meetings with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists.
Israel police spokesman Gil Kleiman said the 20 were refused entry by the Interior Ministry staff and were being held at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv for deportation, but he had no further details.

Hard-line Pakistanis promise battle in Kashmir
LAHORE, Pakistan Pakistan's conservative political and religious groups yesterday vowed continued backing for Kashmiri insurgents despite the government's claim to have blocked militants from crossing into Indian-controlled territory.
An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people gathered in support of the Kashmir insurgency in the bustling eastern city of Lahore to condemn President Pervez Musharraf's decision to end support for the insurgents in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
"The nation will not spare those who took a U-turn on Kashmir. If Musharraf defies national opinion, he will not be able to remain in power," said Jamaat-e-Islami official Liaqat Baloc, an organizer of the demonstration.

Leftist meets Havel to discuss government
PRAGUE A day after the ruling party won a hard-fought election, yesterday Czech President Vaclav Havel held talks with Social Democrat leader Vladimir Spidla, but the president did not immediately ask the leader to form a new government.
Mr. Havel was due later to meet other political leaders to discuss the formation of a government expected to lead this nation of 10 million people into the European Union.
Final preliminary results from the two-day poll gave Mr. Spidla's center-left party 30.20 percent of the vote, ahead of ex-premier Vaclav Klaus' rightist Civic Democrats with 24.47 percent. The Coalition, a two-party centrist alliance and most likely ally for the Social Democrats, polled 14.27 percent.

South Africa negotiates with Libya on weapons
JOHANNESBURG South Africa said yesterday it was involved in talks with the Libyan government to supply it with arms, but negotiations for a deal with the North African country were at an early stage.
South Africa's Sunday Times said South African arms executives who accompanied President Thabo Mbeki on a visit to the country last week held exploratory talks on supplying Libya with aircraft and other military equipment.
The supply of military equipment to Libya is restricted by a U.N. embargo, imposed because of Col. Moammar Gadhafi is expected of supporting suspected support for international terrorism.

Convicted Sadat killer deported to Egypt
CAIRO The United States has deported to Egypt an Egyptian man it said was convicted in absentia for involvement in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by Islamic militants, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.
It said Nabil Soliman was handed over to Egypt on June 12 after being in the United States since 1992.
"This action follows the conclusion of appropriate legal proceedings concerning Mr. Soliman, who was removed for being in the United States illegally," a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said.

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