- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2003

SAUDI ARABIA

Security forces find 2.6 tons of explosives

RIYADH — Saudi police seized more than 2.6 tons of explosives packed into a car that terrorists had intended to blow up earlier this week, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

“Explosives, including a combination of aluminum nitrate and aluminum powder, weighing a total of 5,820 pounds, as well as weapons and ammunitions were found in a van that terrorists planned to blow up,” reported the official Saudi Press Agency, quoting a ministry spokesman.

“Three bottles of gas, to intensify the force of the explosion, as well as 1,341 bullets were also netted from the vehicle,” the spokesman added.

BELGIUM

EU ministers agree on tough ID rules

BRUSSELS — EU interior ministers yesterday backed plans to include fingerprints and digital photos in visas and residence permits for non-EU citizens to boost security and fight illegal immigration.

While the accord still needs formal approval, the next step to tighten security and comply with U.S. demands has been planned. Biometric identifiers will be included in passports of citizens of the European Union.

Washington has said it would allow a visa-free travel system with EU states to continue only if they introduced biometrics to meet tougher security rules put in place after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

SWITZERLAND

Nations to clean up unexploded ordnance

GENEVA — More than 90 countries, including major military powers, have agreed to a groundbreaking treaty aimed at cutting the huge number of civilian casualties from munitions left over from armed conflicts.

Under the pact, set to be approved by the 92 member states of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons today, countries must clean up their unexploded cluster and mortar bombs, missiles and other weaponry.

The new rules, which will be legally binding on signatory states, will come into force when the new protocol to the CCW convention is formally ratified by 20 member states.

CONGO

At least 160 dead from boat collision

KINSHASA — Two boats overloaded with fishermen and traders collided on a stormy lake off the Congo River early this week, killing at least 160 people and leaving more than 100 missing.

Reports of casualties emerged yesterday from the ferry disaster, one of the deadliest in Africa, where inadequate roads make crowded, dilapidated riverboats a prime means of transportation.

According to authorities, villagers in wooden canoes rescued many of the 222 survivors, saving them from waves as high as eight feet.

MEXICO

Thousands protest Fox’s failing reforms

MEXICO CITY — Tens of thousands of Mexicans, from office secretaries to peasants in cowboy hats, rallied yesterday against President Vicente Fox in the latest challenge to the government’s faltering economic reforms.

Noisy protesters headed for Mexico City’s main Zocalo square past foreign-owned banks and the U.S. Embassy, heavily guarded by police.

It was the country’s biggest march in years and 100,000 people were expected on the streets.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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