- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 19, 2003

AUSTRALIA
Bush fires in capital kill 2, destroy homes
CANBERRA A fire swept into Australia's capital yesterday, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing thousands to flee. Two persons were killed, police said.
Emergency services said early today that 388 homes were destroyed by the flames. A state of emergency was declared in the Australian Capital Territory yesterday as temperatures soared and powerful westerly winds fanned blazes into suburbs. More than 20 percent of the city was without power this morning.

BRITAIN
Six men arrested in anti-terror sweeps
LONDON British police said yesterday that they had arrested six men in two separate counterterrorism sweeps at London's Gatwick Airport and the government's electronic spy agency.
Police said they arrested three men yesterday in Cheltenham, in western England, after a tip that they were "acting suspiciously" near the Government Communications Headquarters, the agency that gathers intelligence electronically to support national security.
London police said they had detained three men Friday after they were held by immigration officials at Gatwick while in transit.

VENEZUELA
Chavez foes protest bottling-plant seizures
CARACAS Dozens of protesters demonstrated yesterday outside a bottling plant in Valencia, 66 miles west of Caracas, a day after soldiers seized food and drink from there to distribute to the people.
President Hugo Chavez defended the raids, saying the companies that owned the plants were denying Venezuelans food and drink during a monthlong crippling strike by the opposition.
U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro said he was "concerned and disappointed" by the seizures, which affect U.S. interests in the country. Empresas Polar, Venezuela's largest food company, is an affiliate of Pepsi-Cola Co.

SIERRA LEONE
Former junta leader arrested in attack
FREETOWN Former Sierra Leone junta leader Lt. Col. Johnny Paul Koroma has been arrested in connection with an attack Monday on an army barracks, diplomats said yesterday.
Police said 14 people had been taken into custody at Col. Koroma's house in connection with the attack, when gunmen apparently tried to seize the armory of a Freetown barracks but were beaten off.
Col. Koroma ruled during one of the bloodiest periods of a decadelong war in Sierra Leone. He took power from President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in a 1997 coup but was driven out by a West African force early in 1998.

IRAQ
Talks on war missing include U.S. pilot
BAGHDAD New talks between Iraq and Kuwait over the fate of about 600 people missing in the 1991 Persian Gulf war have been expanded to include a missing U.S. pilot, a U.N. envoy said yesterday.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher was lost when his jet was shot down in Iraq on the first night of a U.S.-led attack to end Iraq's occupation of Kuwait 12 years ago. Two years ago, the United States listed him as missing after previously presuming he had died and asked Baghdad for more information about him.

BRAZIL
Death toll rises to 37 in mudslides
BELO HORIZONTE Rescue workers unearthed four more victims yesterday of mudslides in the central Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, bringing to 37 the number of people killed so far in heavy rainstorms last week.
The latest victims were found in the city of Juiz de Fora, about 100 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, and in the small town of Contagem, on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, Brazil's fourth-largest metropolis.
Torrential rains have swept the state since early Thursday, and nearly 3,000 homes have been washed away in mudslides.


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