- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 5, 2002

Wife says Cuba to free dissident
HAVANA Cuba's best-known imprisoned dissident, Vladimiro Roca, will be freed today, two months earlier than had been expected, his wife told Reuters.
The move to release Mr. Roca, who has been in jail for almost five years, was an apparent gesture by the government to former President Jimmy Carter, who is scheduled to visit the Communist-ruled island this month.
"They told me to go get him tomorrow in Cienfuegos, where they are holding him," Mr. Roca's wife, Magaly de Armas, said yesterday, referring to a central Cuban city.
Mr. Roca, along with three other leading dissidents who had pushed for political reform on the Caribbean island, was arrested in 1997, convicted in 1999 of inciting sedition and sentenced to five years behind bars, including time served.

Dozens killed in plane crash
KANO, Nigeria A Nigerian airliner taking off with 76 persons aboard tore a three-block swath through mosques and homes in the northern city of Kano yesterday, scattering charred corpses and blood-and-soot covered plane seats through a terrified working-class neighborhood.
At least two persons on board survived, aviation authorities said. There was no firm word on overall casualties, but dozens were feared dead on the ground.
The plane belonged to Nigeria's private EAS Airlines. Nigerian Sports Minister Isaya Mark Aku was believed to be among the passengers killed.

9 militants seized in Philippine raid
MANILA Authorities raided a suspected al Qaeda-linked terrorist training camp at an Islamic school in the northern Philippines and seized weapons after a clash in which nine militants were arrested, police said yesterday.
Police said the camp was linked to al Qaeda but not to the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim rebel group in the southern Philippines with ties to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
The camp was discovered Friday based on intelligence from a suspected Islamic militant captured after a clash the previous day north of Manila in Pangasinan province, police said. The camp was in an Islamic school in a mountainous area in Tarlac province, which borders Pangasinan.

Chechen gunman storms Istanbul hotel
ISTANBUL A lone ethnic Chechen gunman burst into a busy five-star hotel in Istanbul yesterday, fired a Kalashnikov rifle and briefly took 13 persons as hostages before surrendering to police, security and hotel officials said.
The manager of the Marmara Hotel in central Taksim Square and a television channel said the ethnic Chechen from eastern Turkey wanted to make a statement supporting rebels in Russia's breakaway province of Chechnya. Russian forces in the province still face guerrilla resistance to Moscow's rule.
None of the hostages, who included four Bulgarians, three Japanese and six Turks, were hurt, according to a security official.

Iranian court bans 2 newspapers
TEHRAN An Iranian court yesterday banned two reformist newspapers, one of which was criticized by some religious leaders for an article they deemed blasphemous, state-run media and journalists at the papers said.
Iran and Bonyan, both Farsi-language dailies, were ordered by the hard-line press court to stop publication, according to its editors and state-run TV.
Iran, which is owned by the official Islamic Republic News Agency, published an article last week saying that Islam's Prophet Muhammad enjoyed listening to women sing and play music.
The article outraged a group of clerics in the holy city of Qom, where they staged a protest on Monday.
In Iran, women are banned from singing before a male audience on grounds that it is un-Islamic.

Turkish prime minister taken to hospital
ANKARA, Turkey Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was admitted to a hospital yesterday with severe stomach and back pains, but doctors said they found nothing seriously wrong with him and that he could return to work shortly.
Doctors said they were treating the 77-year-old leader for an intestinal infection and that he would be released from Baskent Hospital today.

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