- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 30, 2002

Rain hampers relief from Afghan quake

NAHRIN, Afghanistan Driving rain swept across earthquake-shattered northern Afghanistan yesterday, further disrupting aid efforts already hampered by the threat of land mines and aftershocks.

The freezing rain, forecast to last several days, turned dirt roads into quagmires and threatened to prevent landings by U.S. military and other helicopters that have been crucial to getting food, water, medicine and tents to thousands of homeless people.

The confirmed death toll four days after a series of earthquakes began on Monday night, mainly centered around the town of Nahrin, was about 800 with some 500 people seriously injured.

An estimated 20,000 people were camped in the open on freezing hillsides outside Nahrin, fearful of returning to the town because nearly nonstop aftershocks were bringing down mud buildings that had survived the original quakes.

27 injured in blast in Nepalese capital

KATMANDU, Nepal At least 27 persons were wounded when a bomb believed to have been planted by Maoist guerrillas exploded in the Nepalese capital yesterday as soldiers killed a dozen rebels across the Himalayan kingdom, police and officials said.

A Defense Ministry statement said three soldiers and 24 civilians, including children, were wounded in the blast that occurred near a bridge in a residential area of Katmandu during the morning rush hour.

Katmandu has, in recent months, been hit by a string of small explosions blamed on Maoist insurgents waging a violent campaign to set up a one-party, communist state in the poor Himalayan kingdom.

Pakistan's 'Butcher of Bengal' dies at 87

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Pakistan's former army chief, Gen. Tikka Khan, once labeled the "Butcher of Bengal" for his ruthlessness against Bangladeshi separatists, died on Thursday after a long illness, the official media reported.

State-run Radio Pakistan said Gen. Khan, 87, was buried with "full military honors" at the army graveyard in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.

Gen. Khan was military commander in what was then called East Pakistan when military ruler Gen. Yahya Khan ordered a crackdown in March 1971 against a separatist movement led by Awami League leader Sheik Mujibur Rahman.

Money can buy love in Turkmenistan

ASHKHABAD, Turkmenistan Turkmenistan's parliament defied the saying that money can't buy love, and enshrined into law Thursday a move to make foreigners pay $50,000 to marry a Turkmen citizen.

Parliament approved a law requiring foreigners to pay "an insurance sum of no less than 50,000 dollars" to the state insurance company if they wish to marry a Turkmenistan citizen, according to the Turkmen state news agency.

Foreigners wanting to wed Turkmen men or women will also have to own property and have lived in the former Soviet Central Asian state for a year.

The law is described officially as a guarantee for underage children in case the marriage ends in divorce.

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