- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

Al Qaeda posters say bin Laden lives
SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan Posters plastered on poles and walls in the area along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan declare that Osama bin Laden is alive and urge the faithful to wage war against the U.S.-led coalition.
"I am alive. My friend, Mullah Omar, is alive and it is the duty of all Muslims to wage a war on non-Muslims," the posters read, referring to the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
It was not evident whether the posters were from bin Laden or from followers using his name to rally Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers.
Posters and handbills calling for jihad, or holy war, against the U.S.-led coalition have appeared intermittently since the collapse of the Taliban last year. What made these unusual was that they were written in the Pakistani language, Urdu, indicating al Qaeda might be stepping up recruiting in neighboring Pakistan.

Rebel Liberals firm on Chretien ouster
OTTAWA Dissident legislators from Canada's Liberal government emerged from a showdown meeting with Prime Minister Jean Chretien yesterday still calling for him to step aside in favor of former Finance Minister Paul Martin, who was fired sensationally by Mr. Chretien on Sunday.
But other members of Parliament said Mr. Chretien had done enough at the meeting to shore up his position for now, although they predicted he would face a bitter battle against Mr. Martin at a Liberal leadership review scheduled for February.
The weekly meeting of the Liberal parliamentary caucus turned into an emotional inquest into Mr. Chretien's decision to fire the popular Mr. Martin, who had refused to stop organizing his unofficial leadership campaign.

Sinn Fein lord mayor elected in Belfast
BELFAST The Irish Republican Army's political ally, Sinn Fein, won its first mayoral post in Northern Ireland's capital yesterday when Alex Maskey was elected first citizen, despite strong Protestant opposition.
Mr. Maskey was chosen lord mayor of Belfast by 26 votes to 25 at the city council's annual meeting after the small cross-community Alliance Party swung the vote in his favor.
Unionist politicians walked out in protest after Mr. Maskey was elected, but returned to the chamber a short time later.
Defeated Protestant mayoral candidate Chris McGimpsey, who secured 15 votes, called the election "a disgraceful decision, rewarding an organization that has been involved in the destruction of Belfast over the past 30 years."

Clashes overshadow Clinton's Belfast visit
BELFAST Former President Bill Clinton returned yesterday to Northern Ireland to open a new peace center named in his honor, but street fights that erupted showed the 1998 political pact he encouraged had not soothed traditional hatreds.
Mr. Clinton visited the center dedicated to Catholic-Protestant reconciliation while Protestants, some of them masked and armed with clubs, blocked a major Belfast highway and hijacked several vehicles.
In the southwest town of Enniskillen, community activists and other residents met a beaming Mr. Clinton, whose unprecedented interest in getting America involved in Northern Ireland encouraged the Good Friday peace pact four years ago.
The Clinton Center was built on the spot where an IRA bomb killed 11 Protestants in 1987.

Colombia ratifies criminal court statute
BOGOTA, Colombia Colombia ratified the treaty that created the International Criminal Court yesterday, meaning the various sides of this country's long-simmering civil conflict could face international charges for war crimes.
Some have feared that Colombia's ratification of the treaty would complicate efforts to negotiate peace deals with leftist rebels or right-wing paramilitaries, all locked in the 38-year conflict.
President Andres Pastrana announced Colombia's ratification of the Rome Statute, which created the tribunal, saying "those who insist on violence will have over them the entire weight of the law."

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