- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 27, 2002

Serbs stay away from Kosovo polls

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia Kosovo's ethnic Albanians voted yesterday for mayors and town councilors promising better schooling, roads and public health services. But fearful Serbs stayed away, ignoring appeals from centrist leaders and U.N. promises of concessions.
To ethnic Albanians 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people who now run town halls with little Serbian input the municipal elections were uncontroversial. Advocating Kosovo's eventual independence, they saw them as a means to further their goal by increasing their political strength at the local level.
But Serbs are fiercely opposed to independence for the U.N.-run Yugoslav province.

Rebels attack Bangui again
BANGUI, Central African Republic Libyan-backed loyalist forces opened fire with rockets and machine guns in the Central African Republic's capital yesterday to beat back a new assault by rebels linked to a former army chief, residents said.
Fighting erupted in the capital, Bangui, on Friday. Officials said President Ange Felix Patasse was in a safe location, but his spokesman was captured by rebels. Witnesses said at least 20 persons were confirmed dead, among them one of Mr. Patasse's nephews.
The rebels include fighters loyal to sacked army chief Francois Bozize, who fled to northern neighbor Chad late last year after a brief uprising.

Hurricane Kenna wrecks Mexican towns
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico Hurricane Kenna roared to shore north of this resort city known for half-priced beer and breathtaking sunsets, unleashing a wall of water that tore apart a seafront famous to millions of tourists and sent waves washing down streets and through hotel lobbies.
With the hurricane itself dissipated over northern Mexico yesterday, tourists who had come for a relaxed vacation found themselves strolling past devastated hotels guarded by soldiers after the hurricane struck Friday.

Congo holds talks with rebel groups
PRETORIA, South Africa Congo's government and the two rebel factions it has been fighting in a four-year war held talks yesterday brokered by the United Nations and the South African government.
The talks moved closer toward an agreement on the creation of a transitional government, led by Congolese President Joseph Kabila and assisted by three vice presidents one from each of the two rebel groups and the unarmed opposition, negotiators said.
The meeting brought together the rebel groups Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy, the Uganda-backed Congolese Liberation Movement and the Congolese government.

Private funeral planned for actor Richard Harris
LONDON The family of Richard Harris will remember him at a small private funeral in London before scattering his ashes in the Bahamas, where he had a home, the actor's agent said yesterday.
Mr. Harris, the roistering star of "This Sporting Life," "A Man Called Horse," and two Harry Potter films, died Friday of Hodgkin's Disease. He was 72.
Mr. Harris' London-based agent, Sharon Thomas, said public memorial services will be held for the Irish-born actor in London and Dublin.

German artists perform at hijacker's apartment
HAMBURG, Germany A group of German performance artists is staging an event at the suburban Hamburg apartment where September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and several other plotters once lived, a happening that its organizer said yesterday is meant to help bring normality back to the address.
The "Space Clearing" project, which started Friday and ends today, involves painters and actors.
The Marienstrasse 54 address, in a quiet street in the north German port's Harburg district, became notorious after it emerged that several of the September 11 plotters had lived and studied there undetected. Although it is in good condition, it remains unoccupied.

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