- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 24, 2002

Saddam says he embraces democracy
BAGHDAD President Saddam Hussein has promised opposition groups a new constitution that allows freedom of expression, pluralism and a free press, an exiled group said yesterday. Other exiles dismissed the offer as a ploy to rally support before a U.S. attack.
Fadhil Al-Rubaiee, one of four delegates of the Iraqi National Alliance that is visiting Iraq, said the government contacted the alliance and promised steps toward political reform.
Saddam has a history of luring exiles back to Iraq and having them executed.

Iraqi Kurd blamed in assassination bid
KABUL, Afghanistan An Iraqi Kurd arrested in Kabul reportedly plotted to kill Afghan President Hamid Karzai, then targeted the country's defense minister when that plan fell through, a security official said yesterday.
Akram Taufiq Muramy, 22, confessed he wanted to kill Mr. Karzai as his motorcade returned from the airport after a recent trip to New York, said Amrullah Saleh, a top official at the National Security Directorate.

U.S. deserter's wife to meet ambassador
TOKYO The American ambassador to Tokyo is planning to meet the Japanese wife of a U.S. Army deserter living in North Korea, an official said yesterday a meeting that is expected to be an emotional plea for the man's amnesty from U.S. prosecutors.
The status of the woman's husband, Charles Robert Jenkins, has become a politically charged issue because the Japanese government wants him to come to Japan without risking arrest by U.S. officials on desertion charges.
The wife, Hitomi Soga, is one of five Japanese abducted decades ago to communist North Korea who is now in Japan for a reunion with relatives.
The Japanese government earlier had requested that Mr. Jenkins be given special immunity but has not yet received a reply.

S. Korean protesters burn American flags
SEOUL About 700 activists burned an American flag and demanded the U.S. military leave South Korea after two U.S. soldiers were acquitted of negligent homicide charges in a traffic accident that killed two Korean girls.
Shoving matches erupted when riot police blocked the demonstrators from marching on the nearby U.S. military base. No injuries or arrests were reported.
In two separate U.S. military trials earlier this week, Sgt. Fernando Nino and Sgt. Mark Walker were acquitted of negligent homicide charges in the deaths of two 13-year-old schoolgirls that their armored vehicle hit and killed on June 13.

U.S. Navy ship to stop in China
BEIJING A U.S. destroyer will visit China today the first port call since a Navy spy plane and Chinese fighter jet collided 20 months ago and the firmest sign yet of a thaw in military contacts between the countries.
China will greet the USS Paul F. Foster and its 340 crew members in the eastern port of Qingdao with a formalceremony. Other events haven't been announced.

Pakistan swears in civilian prime minister
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Zafarullah Khan Jamali was sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister yesterday, officially ending this nation's three-year military dictatorship on a promise to return the country to the course of democracy.
Mr. Jamali, who has pledged Pakistan's continued commitment to the U.S.-led war against terrorism, took the oath in a ceremony at the presidential palace before a large group of parliamentary leaders, diplomats and armed forces officials.

U.N. inspection tools arrive in Baghdad
BAGHDAD A U.N. plane carrying equipment for weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad yesterday, ahead of searches set to begin Wednesday for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The plane landed at Baghdad's Saddam International Airport after a flight from Larnaca, Cyprus. A team of 18 weapons inspectors will arrive in Baghdad tomorrow and begin inspections Wednesday.

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