- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2003

BRITAIN

Galloway expelled from Labor Party

LONDON — A flamboyant British politician who denounced President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair as “wolves” during the Iraq war was expelled from Mr. Blair’s ruling Labor Party yesterday.

George Galloway, member of Parliament for Glasgow in Scotland, confirmed his expulsion as he emerged from a party hearing in London and angrily condemned it as a “kangaroo court.”

The lifelong maverick has been one of Britain’s most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq. He visited Saddam Hussein in 2002 and started libel proceedings in June against Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper after it reported he had been in the pay of the Iraqi government.

SAUDI ARABIA

Police move against reform demonstrators

RIYADH — Saudi police blocked roads in the capital and the port city of Jidda yesterday to thwart demonstrations for political reforms led by an exiled dissident.

Al Arabiya television quoted a Saudi security official as saying 30 persons were arrested in Jidda, 31 in the eastern port of Dhammam and 13 in the northern town of Hail.

It was the second time in two weeks the London-based Saudi dissident Saad al-Fagih had called for protests in the conservative Muslim kingdom, which bans demonstrations.

SPAIN

Al Jazeera reporter freed on bail

MADRID — A Spanish judge agreed yesterday to release on bail an Al Jazeera reporter who was arrested last month on charges of being a member of the al Qaeda terror group.

Attorneys for Tayssir Alouni, 48, presented the National Court a report from doctors saying he had heart trouble and asking that he be released from jail, the National Court said.

Judge Baltasar Garzon accepted the report and set bail at $7,000, the court said.

Mr. Alouni was arrested on Sept. 5 at his home near the southern city of Granada.

ZIMBABWE

Food used as weapon, rights group says

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s government is using food as a weapon, denying it to political opponents as nearly half its people face starvation, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

The group said the government of President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party punish opponents by manipulating the supply and distribution of subsidized food, as well as the registration of people eligible for international relief.

In a 51-page report, the New York-based group said corruption and profiteering are rampant at the government’s Grain Marketing Board, which oversees distribution of most staple food.

CANADA

Israeli jet diverted over security threat

TORONTO — An El Al flight bound for Toronto from Tel Aviv was diverted first to Montreal and then to Hamilton, Ontario, yesterday because of an unspecified security threat, police and the airline said.

Flight 105, carrying 180 passengers, stopped briefly at Montreal’s Mirabel Airport, then proceeded to the John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, 40 miles southwest of Toronto.

The plane’s passengers disembarked in Hamilton and were transported by bus to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. A search of the Toronto airport and surrounding areas turned up nothing suspicious.

AFGHANISTAN

16 Taliban held in southern sweep

KANDAHAR — Sixteen Taliban members have been arrested in southern Afghanistan in a sweep by 1,000 Afghan fighters and more than 300 U.S.-led coalition troops hunting for leaders of the former regime, a local commander said yesterday.

Tanks and helicopters from the antiterror coalition are also deployed in the search in the districts of Dai Chopan, Atghar, Shinkay and Arghandab. The operation began six days ago. Along with the captives, 20 rifles and two rockets were seized.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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