- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Russians say Americans 'deserved' 9/11 attacks

MOSCOW Fifty-two percent of Russians believe the United States deserved the September 11 attacks, according to an opinion poll published yesterday.

According to the poll, carried out by the All Russian Public Opinion Center, the main reason for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan was "to show who rules the world," with "vengeance" given as the second most common explanation.

Nevertheless, 67 percent of those polled said they have a "very good" or "good" opinion of the United States. Surveyors spoke with 1,600 Russians over age 18 late last month.

U.N. rights chief fires parting shot

GENEVA Outgoing U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson yesterday defended her frequently outspoken criticism of the United States, which she has accused of bending the rules on rights and civil liberties in the wake of September 11.

Speaking to journalists on her next to last day in office, the former Irish president said many countries had used the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people as a pretext for new security laws that violated international human rights norms.

But the United States had a duty to set high standards because others used its lapses as an excuse for abuse, she said.

Dalai Lama's envoys make contact in China

BEIJING Two envoys from the Dalai Lama are visiting Beijing in the first formal exchange between the sides in nine years, a spokesman for the exiled Tibetan leader said yesterday.

Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen arrived Monday accompanied by two assistants, the Tibetan government in exile said in a statement. The group also plans to visit Tibet's capital, Lhasa.

Spokesman Tenzin Taklha would not say whom the envoys would meet. He said the envoys would return to the government-in-exile's headquarters in northern India by the end of the month.

Pakistan has arrested hundreds of suspects

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Security forces have arrested 402 suspected al Qaeda members during months of raids on hide-outs and heightened security along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, officials said yesterday.

Most of the men are Arabs and were turned over to the United States, Interior Ministry officials said. Some of those arrested are still in Pakistani custody.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of al Qaeda and Taliban members are believed to have fled Afghanistan and sought refuge in Pakistan.

NATO candidate Bulgaria destroys Soviet missile

SOFIA, Bulgaria A U.S. company working in Bulgaria yesterday began a U.S.-financed program to destroy the country's aging stock of Soviet-built missiles, as part of a process to strengthen the country's bid for NATO membership, Bulgarian army Chief of Staff Nikola Kolev said on national radio.

He said the first missile warhead, containing 130 pounds of explosive from an SS-23 rocket, was destroyed experimentally without causing chemical or radioactive pollution.

Bulgaria, a NATO candidate, is to destroy more than 100 Soviet-built mid- and short-range missiles in the coming months under an agreement struck with the United States earlier this year.

Sharon warns Lebanon not to divert water

JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned yesterday that diverting water from the Hasbani River, which has its source in Lebanon, constitutes a "casus belli," or grounds for war, army radio reported.

Army radio said Mr. Sharon made the statement at a special session with military and civilian officials after a meeting with his Cabinet.

The Hasbani flows for 30 miles through Lebanon before joining the Jordan River and emptying into the Sea of Galilee. An official said it accounts for 20 percent to 25 percent of the water entering the Galilee, Israel's main supply of fresh water.

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