- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2003

CUBA

U.S. concerned about ailing dissident

A Cuban economist imprisoned for dissident activities has been moved to a military hospital in Havana because her health is failing, the State Department said yesterday.

The United States is “deeply concerned” about the dissident, Marta Beatriz Roque, and the Cuban government should ensure she receives the best possible treatment, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a statement.

Miss Roque, 57, was one of 75 Cubans imprisoned earlier this year in a crackdown on activists and dissidents in Cuba.

According to family members, she was transferred to the Carlos J. Finlay Central Military Hospital in Havana last Thursday with high blood pressure, chest pain and nose bleeds, the statement said.

TURKEY

Parliament approves amnesty for Kurds

ANKARA — Turkey’s parliament yesterday approved a partial amnesty for armed Turkish Kurds holed up in northern Iraq that may help ease tensions between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey has stationed thousands of troops just inside Iraq’s northern border to halt incursions into Turkey by the Kurdish rebels. Washington is uneasy about their presence, and the brief detention of 11 Turkish soldiers by U.S. forces raised bilateral tensions earlier this month.

The partial amnesty may reduce attacks by Kurdish rebels on Turkish targets and allow for a possible phased withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Iraq if many Kurds elect to lay down weapons and return to their homes in Turkey.

CHINA

Explosion kills 29 at fireworks factory

BEIJING — An explosion sparked by hot weather ripped through a fireworks factory in northern China, killing 29 persons and injuring at least 141, state media said yesterday.

The blast took place Monday at the Guoxi fireworks factory in the town of Wangkou in Hebei province, China Central Television reported. Gunpowder stored at the factory spontaneously ignited because of hot weather.

ISRAEL

Austria ties restored after Haider row

JERUSALEM — Israel said yesterday that it was restoring full diplomatic ties with Austria after relations soured in 2000 over the inclusion of Joerg Haider’s far-right Freedom Party in Austria’s governing coalition.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel would send an ambassador back to Vienna, 3 years after withdrawing its top diplomat in protest when Mr. Haider’s party became a senior partner in the Austrian government. Mr. Haider was shunned by Israel for once praising Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS troops and describing Nazi employment policies as “decent,” comments for which he later apologized.

EGYPT

12 held suspected of ties to banned group

CAIRO — Egypt yesterday ordered the detention of 12 men on suspicion of ties to a banned radical Islamic group that took part in a terror campaign in the 1990s, security sources said.

The state security prosecutor accused the men of possessing pamphlets supporting the ideas of Al-Gamaa Islamiya (Islamic Group) and of belonging to an illegal extremist organization. They were arrested in Cairo and will be held for 15 days pending investigation, the sources said.

NEPAL

Top Maoist leaders freed to save talks

KATMANDU — Nepal freed three top Maoist rebels from jail yesterday in an attempt to revive stalled peace talks aimed at ending a revolt that has claimed more than 7,200 lives.

The move came a day after the Maoists, fighting to replace the constitutional monarchy with a communist republic, gave the government until July 31 to fulfill five demands to resume the peace talks stalled since May.


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