- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Saudis may expand power of Shura
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia The kingdom's rulers are considering expanding the powers of the consultative Shura (council), currently limited to an advisory role, Deputy Speaker Bakri Shatta said in remarks published yesterday.
"The council is in the process of development, which will empower it to exercise its supervisory role effectively," Mr. Shatta was quoted by the Arab News as saying.
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, third in the ruling Al-Saud hierarchy and secretary of defense, held a rare closed-door debate with the Shura on Saturday about its role. The members made a number of proposals aimed at improving the council's system and performance, Mr. Shatta said.
The meeting with Prince Sultan came at the initiative of the all-male Shura, which was set up in 1993 with 60 members appointed by King Fahd. Membership was increased to 90 in 1997 and 120 in 2001.

Turkish Cypriot official wary of U.N. blueprint
NICOSIA, Cyprus A senior Turkish Cypriot official said yesterday that a U.N. blueprint to end the island's division fails to address some of his government's key demands, but added that it would carefully evaluate the plan.
"It has some positive aspects as well as negative aspects. It is obvious it does not take into consideration some of our" demands, Dervis Eroglu, prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), told the Turkish Cypriot TAK news agency.
"There is no clarity on sovereignty and there is excessiveness on the territory issue. It foresees giving over large quantities of land [to the Greek side]," he added.

Kuwait court penalizes Al Jazeera for 'insult'
KUWAIT CITY A Kuwaiti court ordered Qatar-based satellite television channel Al Jazeera yesterday to pay compensation to a group of Kuwaiti lawyers who sued the station for defamation, one of the lawyers said.
"We won preliminary compensation of [$16,000]," Mohammed Talib told Agence France-Presse. "That was the first step. In the next one, we're demanding [$65,000]" in a case that will be filed within weeks, he added.
Mr. Talib said the lawyers sued Al Jazeera's chairman as well as Faisal al-Qassim, host of the live show "Opposite Direction," after a guest on the show "offended and insulted Kuwait." Impolite comments were also made about Kuwaiti officials, Mr.Talib said.
Kuwait closed down Al Jazeera's office in the emirate last week after informing the local correspondent that the channel was "biased."

Weekly notes
Dynamite explosions damaged three U.S. fast-food restaurants in different parts of Lebanon yesterday but caused no injuries, police sources said. The explosions at dawn targeted two Pizza Huts located in Jounie and Tripoli, and a third bomb ripped through another fast-food restaurant, Winners, at Ghazir near Jounie. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan will publish today the first Arabic edition of the U.S.-based magazine Foreign Policy, which will be distributed in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Al-Watan already prints and distributes an Arabic edition of Newsweek for the Gulf, Middle East, North Africa and a number of European countries.

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