- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2003

FRANCE
Chirac's wife sued over Jewish carpet
PARIS The wife of the French president, Bernadette Chirac, was due to face accusations against her today that she owns a carpet confiscated from Jews during World War II.
The Association of Jews Despoiled During the War (AJSG) says Mrs. Chirac may possess "a huge and splendid carpet … woven in the 17th century for the Louvre on the order of Louis XIV" and seized from Jews during the 1940s.
The association is calling for her to return the carpet to the state body Mobilier National (National Heritage).

NIGERIA
Fraud taints presidential poll
LAGOS Irregularities and fraud have marred Nigeria's presidential elections, European Union observers said yesterday, as official results gave President Olusegun Obasanjo a spectacular victory.
At least 25 people have been killed in Africa's most populous country since the April 19 vote, which was dismissed by the main opposition party as "a huge joke."

UNITED NATIONS
Aid staff's return to Iraq is delayed
GENEVA United Nations staff planning the first permanent return of international aid workers to Iraq have been held up for more than a week, waiting for coalition permission to fly into the country, a U.N. spokeswoman said yesterday.
"We requested an air corridor from the coalition forces, and we don't know why we haven't got it," said Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
U.N. staff have been waiting in Larnaca, Cyprus, since April 14 for clearance to enter Iraq to assess humanitarian needs.

IRAQ
Cease-fire agreed with Iranian group
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar The U.S. military in Iraq has agreed to a cease-fire with the People's Mujahideen, an armed group of Iranian dissidents that was backed by Saddam Hussein, a senior commander said yesterday.
"We've had some encounters of various sorts with the People's Mujahideen. Some of our actions involve targeting them with lethal fire," Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks told a briefing at U.S. Central Command war headquarters in Qatar.
"At this point a cease-fire is in effect, and some Mujahideen have moved into assembly areas … in noncombat formation."

AFGHANISTAN
Sacked police chief beats up successor
JALALABAD A sacked Afghan provincial police chief and his bodyguards yesterday badly beat up his successor appointed by President Hamid Karzai, preventing the victim from taking up his post, witnesses said.
Najmuddin Safi and his men attacked Safa Mohmand when he arrived to start his new job at Asadabad, capital of Kunar province east of Kabul, witnesses to the incident said.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Afghan warlords terrorize the population with a "climate of fear," and religious fundamentalism is rising in Afghanistan.

COLOMBIA
U.S. military hostages in jungle identified
BOGOTA The Colombian Attorney General's Office identified three U.S. military contractors captured by the nation's largest rebel group after their plane crashed more than two months ago in the southern jungle.
The three hostages were identified as Keith Donald Stansell, Marco Gonzalves and Thomas Howes. Their hometowns were not given.

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