- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2003

ALGERIA
Plane crash in Sahara kills 102; 1 survives
ALGIERS An Air Algerie passenger jet, one of its engines ablaze, crashed shortly after takeoff deep in the Sahara Desert yesterday, killing 102 persons on board, the airline said. One person survived.
The Boeing 737 crashed after taking off from Tamanrasset bound for the Algerian capital, Algiers, 1,000 miles to the north. Terrorism was not suspected.
Seven French citizens were believed to be among the 97 passengers. The remaining passengers and six crew members were Algerians.

CUBA
Castro re-elected to sixth term
HAVANA President Fidel Castro, the world's longest-ruling head of government, was elected yesterday by Cuba's new parliament to a sixth term in office.
Mr. Castro, in power for 44 years, holds the title of president of the Council of State, this communist-run island's supreme governing body. The National Assembly voted unanimously to re-elect him, the sole presidential candidate.
Mr. Castro has been Cuba's unchallenged leader since 1959, though he was elected president only in 1976.

IRAQ
Five human shields ordered to leave
BAGHDAD Iraq ordered five human shields out of the country yesterday after a dispute over where the Western peace activists should deploy to deter any U.S. military strikes.
Accusing them of undermining the "noble and courageous" spirit of other volunteers, senior Iraqi official Abdul-Razzaq al-Hashimi told a heated meeting of about 100 human shields in Baghdad that the five should leave by today.
It was the latest setback to the high-profile mission to Iraq by peace activists whose visit has been plagued by infighting, illness and a broken-down red London bus.

ARMENIA
Kocharyan wins presidential election
YEREVAN Armenian President Robert Kocharyan won a new five-year term yesterday, but international observers said his victory was marked by fraud, and his challenger demanded the vote be declared invalid.
Election officials said that with virtually all the votes in the runoff counted, Mr. Kocharyan polled 67.5 percent to 32.5 percent for opposition candidate Stepan Demirchyan.
About 20,000 opposition demonstrators poured into Yerevan to denounce the outcome.

PAKISTAN
Army receives nuclear-capable missile
ISLAMABAD Pakistan's army received a new medium-range, nuclear-capable, ballistic missile yesterday at a ceremony attended by President Pervez Musharraf.
A statement by the military said the Hatf-IV missile, also known as the Shaheen 1, had a range of 466 miles. It did not say how many missiles were handed over to the army's Strategic Force Command, but television footage showed at least three vehicle-mounted missiles being paraded. Jane's Defense Weekly says the Hatf-IV can carry a 2,200 pound warhead.

ECUADOR
Fire delays legislative session
QUITO Ecuador's Congress suspended debate yesterday because a fire that ripped through the legislature destroyed offices and forced lawmakers to find new quarters.
Anxious lawmakers gathered outside the charred legislature in the heart of Ecuador's capital to survey the damages and later met at a local cultural center.
No one was seriously wounded in the late Wednesday blaze, which left gaping holes in the legislature's facade.

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