- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

Nobel Peace candidates include Karzai, Carter

OSLO Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Chinese dissidents are among the leaders in the race for the Nobel Peace Prize next month, but there is no front-runner in a world still overshadowed by the September 11 attacks, experts say.

Other candidates from a record field of 156 could be former U.S. President Jimmy Carter or a religious or intellectual leader working to heal rifts among Muslims, Christians and Jews the moral antithesis of an Osama bin Laden.

"They would love to find a good Muslim," said Stein Toennesson, head of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo. The $1 million prize is to be announced on Oct. 11.

Anti-U.S. protesters crash Syrian concert

DAMASCUS, Syria About 50 Syrian protesters crashed a U.S.-sponsored public rock concert held in Damascus yesterday in honor of victims of the September 11 attacks, demanding Washington stop its battle cry against Iraq.

"Stop the drums of war so we can hear your music," protesters yelled at the rock memorial, which was attended by around 150 people, including some Americans.

The protesters also waved signs and shouted slogans protesting against U.S. support for Israel, accusing the United States of "serving Zionist criminals" and participating in "dirty crimes" against the Palestinian people.

Syria fears it could be the next target in the U.S. war on terror for hosting radical Palestinian groups and supporting Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group.

EU, U.S. to discuss extradition, terrorism

COPENHAGEN European Union justice ministers will meet Attorney General John Ashcroft on Saturday to discuss an extradition deal and other forms of cooperation on terrorism and crime one year after the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Ashcroft will travel to Copenhagen, where EU justice and interior ministers will open a two-day meeting today to discuss the 15-nation bloc's own security and immigration problems.

The EU pledged to work more closely with Washington after the September 11 attacks. But the use of the death penalty in the United States remains an obstacle to any deal, EU diplomats said.

The EU opposes capital punishment, which is still used by many U.S. states. EU leaders do not want a deal that could leave their citizens facing the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.

Bush to meet Africans on naval base, oil

DAKAR, Senegal Seeking secure oil ahead of threatened conflict with Iraq, the United States is courting oil-rich West African nations with plans already announced to establish a U.S. naval base to safeguard the strategic U.S. interest.

President Bush was expected to talk today in Washington with leaders of at least nine West and Central African nations, all either already steady producers or in the thick of West Africa's oil production and exploration boom.

Among the leaders reported to be meeting with Mr. Bush are President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation off West Africa. Mr. Menezes announced Aug. 22 that his country had reached agreement with the United States for establishment of a U.S. naval base there.

China ends blocking of Google search engine

SHANGHAI As mysteriously as it began, blocking by Chinese authorities of the Internet search engine Google was suddenly lifted yesterday.

Users in Shanghai and Beijing reported that they could once again view Google, widely used by China's 30 million-plus Web users because it has a powerful feature for finding Chinese-language material online.

Starting about Sept. 1, those trying to reach the site began finding themselves rerouted to heavily censored, less-effective search engines run by private Chinese Internet companies.

Analysts said a popular outcry and pressure from businesses that rely on Web tools like Google for research may have persuaded Beijing to reverse the restrictions quickly.

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