- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2003

MAURITANIA

President re-elected; hard-line foe flees

NOUAKCHOTT — The president who has led this Saharan nation for the past 19 years, moving it from support of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein to close ties with Washington and Israel, won re-election, his government declared yesterday.

The top challenger, who was backed by Islamic hard-liners, fled into hiding, claiming fraud.

After all votes were tallied, the Interior Ministry declared President Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya the first-round winner.

BURMA

Suu Kyi demands freedom for others

RANGOON — Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not accept freedom until all those arrested with her five months ago are released, a U.N. human rights envoy said yesterday.

The Nobel Peace laureate is under house arrest. Her detention began after a bloody clash in northern Burma on May 30 between her supporters and a pro-junta mob.

U.N. envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said 35 persons remain in jail in connection with the May incident, and he said Mrs. Suu Kyi told him that “she will not accept any privilege or freedom of movement before all the people detained since May 30 including her eight colleagues [are] released.”

SOUTH KOREA

Rivals to set up office on trade

SEOUL — South and North Korea agreed yesterday to establish an office to facilitate direct cross-border trade between them.

The two Koreas will build the trade office by next July in the North Korean city of Kaesong, where the South is building an industrial park, according to a statement issued at the end of four-day economic talks in Pyongyang.

Last year, inter-Korean trade reached $642 million, mostly South Korean shipments of food, fertilizer and other aid to the North.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Militant Protestants suspected in shooting

BELFAST — Masked gunmen shot dead a man in Northern Ireland yesterday in an attack media reports said could have been carried out by the hard-line Protestant paramilitary group, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

John “Jock” Allen, 31, died in a hospital after being shot a number of times by two masked gunmen at an apartment in Ballyclare in the early morning.

Irish state radio quoted the man’s mother as saying he had no paramilitary involvement, but had been in a dispute with the UVF on a previous occasion.

IRAN

Government pledges to deliver nuke letter

VIENNA, Austria — Iran again pledged yesterday to give the U.N. nuclear watchdog crucial letters making official its acceptance of tougher nuclear inspections and a suspension of its controversial uranium-enrichment program.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani, that the letters had been promised.

Diplomats said they were losing patience with Iran, which has yet to stop its enrichment activities three weeks after promising to do so.

AFGHANISTAN

Land of the burka recoils at the bikini

KABUL — A 23-year-old woman who was the first Afghan in three decades to take part in a beauty pageant could face prosecution if she returns to her native country, a senior justice official said yesterday.

Fazel Ahmad Manawi, deputy head of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court, told the Associated Press that Vida Samadzai, a college student in California, had betrayed Afghan culture by appearing at the Miss Earth contest in a bikini — and may have also broken the law.


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