- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002

Indian hard-liner named deputy prime minister
NEW DELHI Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee began a Cabinet reshuffle yesterday, appointing as his deputy a Hindu nationalist leader who wants a harder line against Pakistan and a more aggressive brand of Hinduism.
A statement from the Indian president's office said Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani, 74, who has long been seen as the likely successor to Mr. Vajpayee, 77, would be promoted to deputy prime minister.
A senior source in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party also said Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha was expected to swap jobs with External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, underscoring a new focus on domestic economic reforms after an easing in a military standoff with nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.

India test-fires Russian military rocket
NEW DELHI India test-fired a Russian-made military rocket yesterday at its missile-testing facility off the country's east coast, the Press Trust of India agency reported.
The agency said the rocket is part of Russia's Smerch rocket system and has a range of 43 to 56 miles with both surface-to-surface and surface-to-air strike capabilities.
India, which is pursuing an integrated guided-missile development program involving five missiles that can traverse different distances and terrains, last week tested its locally developed heat-seeking anti-tank Nag, or Cobra, missile.

Falun Gong barred on anniversary eve
HONG KONG At least 20 followers of the Falun Gong spiritual group were barred from setting foot in Hong Kong Friday night as authorities kept out Beijing's critics ahead of the five-year anniversary of its return to Chinese rule.
The Falun Gong is outlawed in mainland China but remains legal in this former British colony.
Members arrived in Hong Kong Friday night to join a protest demonstrations to coincide with tomorrow's anniversary celebrations, which will be attended by Chinese leaders.

Carter to visit Venezuela next week
CARACAS, Venezuela Former President Jimmy Carter will visit Venezuela next week to support democracy and dialogue in the politically divided country after a short-lived April coup against President Hugo Chavez, a Carter representative said yesterday.
Mr. Carter will make the trip July 6-10, Jennifer McCoy told reporters at the end of a weeklong visit to Venezuela by a delegation from the Atlanta-based Carter Center.
She said Mr. Carter would seek to promote peaceful political dialogue in Venezuela, which is deeply divided over the rule of the left-wing president.

Jordan denies aiding Iraq invasion plan
AMMAN, Jordan Jordan vehemently denied yesterday an Arab newspaper report that dozens of U.S. troops and intelligence services have been sent into Jordan under a plan to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"The information is totally false. Nothing that was written is true, there is not a single American soldier on the Jordanian territory," Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher told Agence France-Presse.
In a front-page story datelined London, Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper said yesterday that forward bases for U.S. troops had been set up in Jordan in preparation for an invasion and that about 2,000 U.S. troops have been deployed there so far.

Albania seizes weapons from royal family
TIRANA, Albania Police have seized 11 cases of weapons brought to Albania by the son of former King Zog, a police spokesman said yesterday.
Leka Zog, son of the former Albanian monarch, returned to Albania on Friday after decades in exile. The police were still counting the weapons yesterday.
Police said the Zog family presented documents stating that the weapons, including Kalashnikovs, grenades and hunting arms, were legal.
Mr. Zog returned to Albania after 63 years in exile. He lived for much of the past 20 years in South Africa.

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