- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2003

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Rebels seize airport, presidential palaces
BANGUI Insurgents loyal to a former army chief captured the Central African Republic's airport, large swathes of its capital and several presidential residences yesterday while the president was out of the country.
Intense artillery and smaller-arms fire began around 3:15 p.m. local time as the rebels entered the capital, Bangui, from the north. The fighters identified themselves to residents as loyalists of former Army chief Francois Bozize, whose forces narrowly failed to capture the capital in October.
The attacks in this coup-prone nation came while President Ange-Felix Patasse visited Niamey, the capital of Niger, for a meeting of African heads of state.

SIERRA LEONE
Rebel chief faces war-crimes court
BONTHE Rebel leader Foday Sankoh, his head slumped on his chest, right leg shaking constantly and grey hair in dreadlocks, was wheeled before a war-crimes court in Sierra Leone yesterday.
Mr. Sankoh is one of seven persons indicted by the U.N.-backed court and charged with crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, extermination and other acts of terror.
Mr. Sankoh and his Revolutionary United Front took up arms in 1991 to start one of Africa's most savage civil wars. About 50,000 died, and thousands more had limbs deliberately hacked off by fighters.

SPAIN
Greenpeace blockade of naval base ended
MADRID Greenpeace said yesterday that Spanish police had carried out a midnight raid to end a 14-hour blockade of a U.S.-Spanish naval base by the environmental group's Rainbow Warrior flagship.
No comment was immediately available from police or the government of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, one of President Bush's staunchest European allies on Iraq.
A Greenpeace spokeswoman said police boarded the Rainbow Warrior after it obstructed the entrance to the Rato naval base on Spain's southern coast Friday and prevented a U.S. military supply ship from leaving.

ITALY
Scuffles mar return of exiled royals
NAPLES Scuffles broke out outside Naples Cathedral yesterday, forcing the heirs to the Italian throne to cancel attending a Mass there on their first visit to the city after 57 years in exile.
Supporters of the exiled members of the Savoy royal family scuffled with backers of a rival royal dynasty, the Bourbons, who ruled what was then the Kingdom of Naples until the 19th century.
Vittorio Emanuele, 65, grandson of Italy's last king; his wife, Marina Doria; and their 30-year-old son, Emanuele Filiberto, arrived in Naples earlier for a three-day visit. It was their first lengthy stay in Italy since the Italian parliament last year lifted a ban imposed on the male heirs of the royal family after World War II for the then-monarch's collaboration with fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

VENEZUELA
Huge wedding thrown for Chavez's daughter
CARACAS Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threw a magnificent wedding for his daughter yesterday, with a cake big enough to serve 1,000, including Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who is reported to have declined his invitation.
Venezuela's press has dubbed it the "revolutionary wedding," after the president's leftist politics.
Rosa Virginia Chavez, who appears at her father's side more often than the first lady, was married to the defense minister's nephew Pedro Manuel Prieto in a 19th-century chapel on the grounds of the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.
Rosa Virginia is the second of Mr. Chavez's four children from two marriages.

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