- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

Female delegate granted protection

KABUL — The United Nations granted protection to a delegate after her criticism of warlords at Afghanistan’s historic constitutional convention sparked fears for her safety, a U.N. spokesman and other delegates said yesterday.

The council, or loya jirga, has brought together 500 delegates to draft a new constitution.

Malalai Joya, a delegate from western Farah province, had criticized the presence of warlords who had participated in Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s.

RUSSIA

Putin announces re-election bid

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s most popular leader in years, said yesterday that he would run for a second term in March and dismissed suggestions that he would change the constitution to stay longer.

Mr. Putin, the odds-on favorite in the contest, made his widely expected announcement in a three-hour televised phone-in program less than two weeks after his allies scored a crushing victory in parliamentary elections.

SAUDI ARABIA

Major attack feared before February

Terrorism intelligence in Saudi Arabia suggests the likelihood of a major attack in the next six weeks, a defense official said, but there are no specifics about the target.

The State Department recommended Wednesday that diplomats’ families leave Saudi Arabia. Security was tight in the capital, Riyadh, yesterday, with a heavy police presence throughout much of the city.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Tribunal sentences Serb to 23 years

THE HAGUE — A Bosnian Serb prison camp commander who allowed his troops to rape, torture and murder Muslim prisoners was sentenced yesterday to 23 years in prison at the United Nations’ war-crimes tribunal.

Dragan Nikolic, 46, showed no emotion as presiding Judge Wolfgang Schomburg read the sentence.

BELGIUM

Time out called on EU constitution

BRUSSELS — The man who drafted the European Union’s first constitution, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, said yesterday that the bloc should wait a year before reprising debate on the treaty after the collapse of a weekend summit.

Speaking out for the first time since the summit imploded without a deal on the constitution, Mr. Giscard d’Estaing said a period of reflection was needed.

INDONESIA

Islamist students to be charged

JAKARTA — Indonesian police said yesterday that they will charge the brother of Hambali — a key Southeast Asian terrorism suspect with ties to al Qaeda — and three other Islamic students with “facilitating” terrorism.

The police said the four helped Hambali, suspected of being the leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah organization, which is held responsible for the Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 persons. Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Issamuddin, is in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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