- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2003

GERMANY
Bus hijacker wants terror suspects freed
ALGERMISSEN A Lebanese gunman demanding the release of a key September 11 suspect in U.S. custody hijacked a bus in the northern German city of Bremen yesterday, taking 16 hostages and leading police on a highway chase.
No one was injured in the seven-hour standoff, which ended when police stormed the bus and arrested the 17-year-old gunman. They said he commandeered the bus with a pistol that fires blanks and a satchel he said was packed with explosives.
No shots were fired, and neither the hostages nor the gunman was injured, police said.
The teen, who was not identified, demanded the release of four prisoners including Ramzi Binalshibh, one of the Hamburg-based September 11 plotters who was captured in Pakistan last year and is in U.S. custody, a prosecutor said.

TURKEY
Ministry objects to Garner's remark
ISTANBUL Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador yesterday to explain reports that the U.S. official in charge of rebuilding Iraq referred to a northern Iraqi city as Kurdish.
Turkish news media reported that retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner characterized Kirkuk as a "Kurdish city" during talks in northern Iraq earlier this week. Ambassador Robert Pearson said he did not know whether Mr. Garner made such a statement, but reiterated U.S. assurances that the city would not fall into the hands of any one ethnic group.
Turkey fears Iraqi Kurdish groups could use the region's oil resources to fund an independent Kurdish state and encourage similar efforts by Turkey's minority Kurds.

FRANCE
Hundreds bid farewell to jazz great Simone
CARRY-LE-ROUET Remembering her artistry and activism, hundreds of mourners crowded a church in southern France yesterday to bid farewell to jazz singer Nina Simone.
Miss Simone, whose raspy, soulful voice and protest songs of the U.S. civil rights movement won her lasting acclaim, died Monday at age 70 after a long illness in France, where she had lived for years.
About 500 mourners including South African singer Miriam Makeba attended services.

CUBA
Castro criticizes top U.S. diplomat
HAVANA Fidel Castro harshly criticized America's top diplomat in Cuba yesterday, accusing him of provoking his government by hosting dissidents whom the Cuban president called "counterrevolutionaries" and "mercenaries."
Mr. Castro during a televised speech that lasted more than three hours listed a series of acts such as holding cocktail parties and other gatherings and statements by U.S. Interests Section chief James Cason who took over the post last fall.
In the past month, Cuba has come under heavy world criticism for holding rapid tribunals and giving 75 dissidents sentences ranging from six to 28 years on charges of collaborating with American diplomats to subvert the socialist system charges that the opponents and U.S. officials deny.

ISRAEL
Soldier wounded in Jenin ambush
JERUSALEM Palestinian gunmen fired on Israeli soldiers, injuring one lightly, as the troops got out of armored vehicles to search for militants in the West Bank city of Jenin before dawn yesterday, the army said.
Two helicopters came to support the small force and strafed the street with heavy machine-gun fire, Palestinian security sources said.
A member of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militia linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, said the soldiers fell into an ambush. Gunmen were waiting in dark alleys for the troops to get out of their vehicles and then fired on them.

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