- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2003

IRAQ
Freed POWs leave camp hailing President Bush
CAMP BUCCA Chanting "Saddam no, Bush yes," about 200 Iraqi prisoners of war were let go yesterday at the coalition's main internment camp in the desert near the southern port of Umm Qasr.
The men, many of them barefooted, shook hands with the American soldiers guarding the camp before boarding buses to be driven to nearby Basra, southern Iraq's largest city.
Their departure brought to 700 the number of POWs released since Friday.

CHINA
Beijing shuts down in bid to contain SARS
China shut all entertainment venues in Beijing, including movie houses, theaters and karaoke bars, yesterday as efforts to control the SARS virus reduced the capital to a ghost town.
Businesses ground to a halt as the number of confirmed cases of the deadly bug soared above 1,000 and packed flights took the last vacationers, diplomats' wives and businessmen out of the city.
Many of the city's migrant workers also have left, defying government orders to remain.

NORTHERN IRELAND
IRA prepared to disarm, Sinn Fein leader says
BELFAST The Irish Republican Army would be willing to disarm as part of a final peace deal in Northern Ireland, the leader of the guerrilla group's political ally Sinn Fein said yesterday.
The peace process in the British-ruled province has been deadlocked since London and Dublin rejected a private IRA offer as too vague and challenged the group to renounce violence for good.
But in a speech in Belfast, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the IRA stood ready to resume disarming if there was a positive response to its offer.

AFGHANISTAN
Local governor describes battle with Taliban
KANDAHAR The soldiers of a provincial governor loyal to President Hamid Karzai killed 10 Taliban fighters in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, the governor said yesterday.
The fighting, which continues, began Wednesday when Taliban fighters attacked a government office in the district of Chapan, said Hamidullah Kahn Tokhi, the governor of Zabul province, 150 miles northeast of Kandahar.

UNITED KINGDOM
Picasso, Van Gogh works stolen from gallery
MANCHESTER Thieves have stolen drawings worth more than $1.6 million by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin from a British gallery in a well-organized burglary, police said yesterday.
Van Gogh's "The Fortification of Paris," Picasso's "Poverty" and Gauguin's "Tahitian Landscape" were snatched overnight from the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.
Detectives said the break-in occurred between Saturday evening and yesterday around noon. The gallery is now closed to the public. The Whitworth is renowned as a center for textiles and works on paper.

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