- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2002

Blair issues ultimatum to Northern Ireland

BELFAST The Irish Republican Army must make a "real, total and permanent" commitment to peace if it wants Northern Ireland power sharing to resume between Protestants and the outlawed group's Sinn Fein party, Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday.

Mr. Blair's bluntly worded speech in Belfast came three days after Britain stripped the local Catholic-Protestant administration of power and assumed sole authority in the province.

The move kept the coalition technically intact. It pre-empted plans by the major British Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists, to resign over a scandal in which an IRA spy penetrated the British government.

Kuwaiti with explosives nabbed near high-rise

KUWAIT CITY Kuwaiti authorities arrested a teenager yesterday who had explosives in his car near a shopping center and residential high-rise where some U.S. soldiers live just outside Kuwait City, Kuwaiti government officials said.

A 17-year-old male was arrested near the Alia and Ghalia towers in Fintas, about 15 miles south of Kuwait City, an Interior Ministry official said on the condition of anonymity. Several U.S. military personnel live in the building.

The youth had 10 bottles filled with gasoline, each with a cloth fuse, in his car, and told police he had received orders from Pakistan over the Internet to place the explosives in the towers.

Colombia battles Marxists in Medellin

MEDELLIN, Colombia More than 1,000 Colombian soldiers and police backed by helicopter gunships have moved into a bullet-pocked neighborhood of Medellin after 24 hours of fighting with rebels that killed 10 persons.

The forces were ordered by President Alvaro Uribe this week to wrest Medellin's violent 13th district, long a guerrilla stronghold, from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials FARC, and the smaller, Cuba-inspired National Liberation army, or ELN.

Ivory rebels sign cease-fire pact

BOUAKE, Ivory Coast Ivory Coast's rebels signed a West African-brokered cease-fire yesterday to halt a 4-week-old war that threatened regional catastrophe.

Warrant Officer Tuo Fozie, a commander of the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast, signed the agreement for the rebels in their stronghold of Bouake, 225 miles north of the main city of Abidjan.

Hundreds have died in fighting and tens of thousands have fled to escape the conflict that has intensified ethnic bitterness in a country divided between a largely Christian south and a Muslim north, most of which is held by the rebels.

Twelve rebels die in Kashmir battle

JAMMU, India Sixteen persons, including 12 separatist guerrillas, were killed yesterday in new shootouts in India's Jammu and Kashmir state, police said.

The violence came as India and Pakistan announced they would withdraw troops deployed along their border, ending an almost year-long military standoff that brought the nuclear-armed neighbors close to war over disputed Kashmir, the trigger of two of three wars between them.

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