- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2002

Israeli cites objections to Saudi peace plan
JERUSALEM A senior Israeli politician yesterday cited two main reservations to a Saudi peace plan for the Middle East in a sign of potential objections to the proposal.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters news service that the 17-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation must come to an end before the proposal could be considered.
He also said that the plan would not be acceptable to Israel if it did not recognize Israel's right to live within "secure and recognized" borders, a key element of earlier U.N. resolutions on peacemaking.
The surprise initiative offers full Arab normalization of ties with Israel in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from lands it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

Police find body of Colombian senator
ZIPACON, Colombia A senator and two companions who were trying to negotiate the release of rebel hostages were shot in the head and killed, apparently by the rebels, police said yesterday.
The bodies of Sen. Martha Catalina Daniels, her driver, Carlos Lozano, and Ana Maria Medina were found Saturday in a deep ravine outside Zipacon, 35 miles north of Bogota, town mayor Bernardo Gonzalez said.
Mrs. Medina was the wife of a local politician who was being held hostage, apparently by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Mr. Gonzalez said all three were shot in the head and had bruises on their bodies. They were identified yesterday morning.

Officials try to identify 7 terrorism suspects
SKOPJE, Macedonia Officials struggled yesterday to identify seven suspected Muslim "terrorists" killed in a police shootout that has raised many questions among Western diplomats who were said to have been their targets.
"The only thing we are certain about at this moment is that the gunmen are not from Macedonia, but we are still trying to establish where they are from," a senior interior ministry official said.
Police have said they suspect the gunmen were foreign fighters from Muslim countries, who were planning attacks on government officials and foreign embassies. Police also said they believed some of them were from Pakistan.

Assad's Beirut visit is first in decades
BEIRUT Syria's president began an official trip to Lebanon yesterday the first such visit in more than three decades despite Syria's strong influence over its neighbor.
After receiving a 21-gun salute at Beirut's airport, Bashar Assad held talks with his Lebanese counterpart, Emile Lahoud, on the Arab summit scheduled for March 27-28 in Beirut.
Mr. Assad's father, the late Hafez Assad, never traveled to Beirut during his 30-year presidency. He did meet President Suleiman Franjieh at Chtaura, just inside the Lebanese border, in 1975.

Argentina will tax firms to help the poor
BUENOS AIRES Argentina plans to levy a one-time tax on corporations to fund social programs for the swelling ranks of the poor who now make up almost half the population in the recession-racked nation, President Eduardo Duhalde was quoted as saying yesterday.
The peso is now worth less than half its value against the U.S. dollar, to which it was pegged at par for 10 years.
"The only decision taken by the government is to levy a tax on large companies that took loans in dollars and benefited from their conversion in [devalued] pesos. And it is just for one time," Mr. Duhalde told La Nacion.

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