- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Kosovo chooses its first president

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia Ethnic-Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova became Kosovo's first president yesterday, claiming the right to govern beside the United Nations and NATO and promising to push for independence.

In one round of open balloting, the province's lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a power-sharing deal that sealed the election of a president and government in the southern Yugoslav province after a months-long deadlock.

Clutching a bouquet after the vote, Mr. Rugova joined hands with the newly elected prime minister, Bajram Rexhepi, a senior official of a rival party whose chief led the ethnic-Albanian rebel group that fought Serbian forces in the late 1990s.

FBI, Italian agents trade data on terror suspects

ROME FBI agents and Italian investigators met in Italy yesterday to exchange information on the arrests of more than a dozen suspected terrorists in Italy, sources close to the investigation said.

The sources said the special agents had come from the United States and it was not known how long they would stay in Italy.

FBI agents already based in Italy also were taking part in the meetings.

Sierra Leone rebel charged with murder

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone The jailed leader of Sierra Leone's brutal rebel movement was charged with murder yesterday, almost two years after 19 persons were killed during demonstrations outside his home in Freetown.

Foday Sankoh, who led the West African nation's Revolutionary United Front (RUF), had been held at an undisclosed location since being arrested shortly after the killings in May 2000. The demonstrators died when shots were fired from Mr. Sankoh's home.

The RUF is known for chopping off the arms and legs of children during the civil war.

Canadian reporter hurt in Afghanistan attack

GARDEZ, Afghanistan A Canadian reporter was injured yesterday when an explosive device was tossed into her car as she rode toward the scene of fighting between the U.S.-led coalition and Taliban and al Qaeda forces.

Kathleen Kenna of the Toronto Star was badly injured in the leg, said Mary Deanne Shears, the newspaper's managing editor. The injury was not life-threatening, according to a Toronto Star photographer traveling with Miss Kenna.

Miss Kenna was taken to a U.S. military compound in the area, Miss Shears said in Toronto.

Fatal quake adds to Afghan misery

KABUL, Afghanistan At least 100 persons died and 15 were injured in a northern Afghan village after a powerful earthquake during the weekend triggered a landslide, a spokesman for the U.N. World Food Program said yesterday.

Khaled Mansour said aid workers flew by U.N. helicopter to the village of Dakhli-e-Zeu in Samangan province yesterday and found at least 100 houses flattened and the landslide blocking a river, threatening villages upstream.

"Villagers said 100 people are dead, 15 people are injured and 500 animals were killed," Mr. Mansour said.

The earthquake, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, struck Afghanistan on Sunday afternoon, shaking an area stretching from Tajikistan to India.

Haiti to name a prime minister

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Moving to fill a top job that has been vacant for six weeks, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will appoint Senate President Yvon Neptune as prime minister, officials said yesterday.

Mr. Neptune, 55, a powerful senator from Haiti's western province and former spokesman for Mr. Aristide's Lavalas Family party, will fill the vacancy that has existed in the embattled Caribbean country's government since Prime Minister Jean Marie Cherestal resigned Jan. 21.

The Aristide government has been locked in a dispute with the opposition Democratic Convergence coalition since the May 2000 parliamentary elections, which Convergence said were tabulated to give Lavalas more seats than it was due.

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