- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

Congo rebels accused of mass executions
KISANGANI, Congo Rwanda-backed rebels controlling this eastern city carried out mass executions and buried bodies in mass graves in response to an uprising two weeks ago, according to witnesses, relief workers and survivors.
Accounts gathered by the Associated Press from U.N. and Red Cross workers, hospital employees and Catholic clerics reveal that at least 170 have been killed since the May 14 uprising, including scores of civilians.
Rebel forces with the Congolese Rally for Democracy deny the accusations.
The toll is expected to rise as bodies, some bullet-scarred and gouged by bayonets, are reportedly still being found in mass graves, in a Congo River tributary.

Iraq OKs extension of food-oil plan
NEW YORK Iraq has exchanged letters with the United Nations formally extending the oil-for-food humanitarian program for another six months, despite a new overhaul of sanctions, U.N. officials said yesterday.
A memorandum of understanding that set up the 1996 plan, which allows Iraq to sell oil and buy humanitarian supplies, was renewed Tuesday, said Benon Sevan, the U.N. undersecretary general in charge of the program.
Albeit with protests, Iraq had accepted the new sanctions regulations, adopted by the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

Coup president gets asylum
BOGOTA, Colombia Venezuelan businessman Pedro Carmona gained asylum in Colombia yesterday, evading likely rebellion charges back home for his daylong stint as national leader during an April coup that briefly deposed populist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Mr. Carmona, 61, reached Bogota's Catam military airport at 10:15 a.m., exiting a twin-engine air force plane in a business suit and carrying a briefcase.
Mr. Carmona, who was president for less than 24 hours, won asylum here three days ago.

$5 million reward for Muslim kidnappers
MANILA The United States set up a hot line and offered a reward of up to $5 million yesterday for the capture of leaders of Abu Sayyaf, the group that has held an American couple hostage for a year.
U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone said the reward is for any or all of the group's five leaders, including Abu Sabaya, who is accused of masterminding a raid in which the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped three Americans and 17 Filipinos. One American was later beheaded.
The Muslim extremist group, which has been linked to the al Qaeda terrorist network, is notorious for beheading hostages and captive soldiers, and sometimes filming the slayings.

Political rivals weigh keeping coalition alive
JERUSALEM The Labor and Likud parties traditional political rivals and for the past 14 months reluctant coalition partners are working on a deal to keep their shaky alliance intact for another year, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
The coalition lost its absolute majority in parliament last week when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fired rebel ministers and their deputies from two Orthodox Jewish parties who voted against an austerity budget package.
Left with command of 60 votes in the 120-seat parliament, Mr. Sharon and his right-wing Likud party are now more vulnerable to threats from the center-left Labor to take its 23 parliamentary votes into opposition, where it could work for early elections.

Croquet riot sends three to hospital
CALGARY, Alberta Three men were sent to a hospital after being hit with mallets, and nine persons were arrested after a brawl between croquet and softball players in this western Canadian city.
One man was in a hospital trauma center with life-threatening head injuries after the melee at a Calgary athletic field, police and paramedics said yesterday. Alcohol was said to be a factor.
"I didn't realize croquet was a contact sport," said Detective Dean Vegso of the Calgary police.

Peru's ex-leader tries taking new identity
LIMA, Peru Disgraced former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has changed his name and address in Tokyo in an effort to shake journalists and Peruvian justice officials, the local press reported yesterday.
Mr. Fujimori has moved to the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo and is using the name Ken Inomoto, the El Comercio daily and its broadcast channel "Canal N" reported from the Japanese capital.
Inomoto is his mother's maiden name, and Ken comes from his middle name, Kenya, the report said.


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