- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 23, 2003

ARMENIA
Dozens jailed for election protests
YEREVAN Armenian police arrested yesterday dozens of opposition campaigners who took part in a rally demanding a recount in the first round of a presidential election on grounds of irregularities.
Incumbent President Robert Kocharian vowed to crack down on any threat to public order, and the Defense Ministry accused the opposition of undermining security and said it would step in if necessary.
Stepan Demirchyan, who came in second in the first round, accused Mr. Kocharian of resorting to violence against opponents. The next round of the election is March 5.

SYRIA
Bomb threats delay Qatar Airways planes
DAMASCUS A Qatar Airways plane en route to London made an emergency landing in Damascus yesterday after a bomb threat, but security forces found no explosives on board, Syrian officials said.
A second Qatari aircraft, bound for Doha, was delayed in Cairo after a note was discovered on the plane saying it would blow up, but a search found no explosives. Both planes were allowed to depart later in the day.
The Doha-London flight requested permission to land in Damascus after a female Spanish passenger said there was a bomb on board. A Qatar Airways official said the woman was mentally ill.

IRAN
Nuclear agency promised greater transparency
TEHRAN Iran has agreed to provide early information about any proposed nuclear facility's design, the top U.N. nuclear inspector said yesterday.
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also said Iran will consider letting his agency inspect undeclared nuclear facilities without prior announcement.
"It is a sign of greater transparency from Iran regarding its nuclear programs," he said at the end of a two-day visit to Iran.
Mr. ElBaradei's visited an incomplete nuclear plant in Natanz, about 200 miles south of Tehran, and met with President Mohammed Khatami.

KUWAIT
Iraqi man arrested as spying suspect
KUWAIT Kuwait said yesterday that it has arrested an Iraqi man on suspicion of spying amid heightened tension in the Persian Gulf about the prospect of a U.S.-led war on Iraq.
The official news agency KUNA quoted an Interior Ministry statement as saying the man, identified as Zohair Fakeera Mohammed Nader, had lived in Kuwait since 1980 and was an officer in the Iraqi army.
The arrest follows the detention of a Kuwaiti soldier last month on similar grounds.

AFGHANISTAN
Huge fire destroys petroleum warehouse
JALALABAD A huge fire at a warehouse of a dealer in petroleum products in the Afghan city of Jalalabad destroyed as much as $5 million worth of goods yesterday, the company said.
There were no reports of casualties. Police said there were no firefighters in the city about 47 miles from the Pakistan border, so the fire could burn at least until morning.
The blaze broke out after dark at the warehouse and offices of the Ali Baba company, an importer of cooking oil and petroleum products. One witness said people had attempted to extinguish the blaze by throwing soil onto the flames.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
Guards shoot dogs for prison escape
BELGRADE Guards at a prison in northern Serbia shot and killed two watch dogs that did not alert them to the escape of five inmates.
The dogs, both 15 years old, did not bark when five inmates dug a channel underneath a prison wall and escaped earlier this month, the Gradjanski List daily reported yesterday.
Three of the convicts were captured, and two remain at large.


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