- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 26, 2003

ZIMBABWE

Police shut down independent daily

HARARE — Police occupied the offices of Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper yesterday, halting operations and detaining staff one day after a court order blocked government efforts to shut it down.

Officials at the Daily News said armed police swooped down on the newspaper’s offices in central Harare and detained 18 journalists and administrators just hours after the paper put out its first edition since being closed by government order six weeks ago.

The employees were released after about four hours, but received a verbal warning not to return to work, newspaper staff said.

The raid occurred one day after the Harare Administrative Court dealt President Robert Mugabe’s government a defeat by ordering that the Daily News be granted a new publishing license.

AFGHANISTAN

Ex-Taliban official freed from custody

KANDAHAR — The Taliban’s former foreign minister has been released from U.S. military custody and is living at his home in this southern Afghan city, the spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province said yesterday.

Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil was released 10 days ago and is in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, said Khalid Pashtun, spokesman for Gov. Mohammed Yusuf Pashtun.

Recent unconfirmed reports of Mr. Muttawakil’s release fueled speculation that the U.S.-backed central government was pursuing talks with moderate members of the former Taliban movement, hoping for further reconciliation in the country where attacks by fugitive Taliban and al Qaeda members continue to plague the countryside.

PAKISTAN

Al Qaeda suspect arrested in raid

LAHORE — Pakistani authorities arrested a foreign al Qaeda suspect in a raid in an industrial city yesterday, a Pakistani intelligence official said.

The Arab-speaking national is believed to be an important member of al Qaeda with a bounty on his head. The arrest took place in a raid in the city of Faisalabad on information gleaned from interrogation of three al Qaeda suspects, two of them Yemeni nationals, arrested in the same city Tuesday.

JORDAN

New prime minister, Cabinet sworn in

AMMAN — Jordan’s new prime minister was sworn in yesterday, and he pledged to increase democracy and work for a “moderate and tolerant” nation that will be an example for others.

Faisal al-Fayez, 51, and 20 Cabinet colleagues were sworn in during a brief ceremony in the Throne Chamber at Raghadan Palace in Amman. King Abdullah II later issued a royal decree naming the new ministers, which for the first time includes women.

EGYPT

Mummy returns from U.S. museum

CAIRO — An Egyptian mummy, which is probably Pharaoh Ramses I who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, returned home yesterday from a U.S. museum after a journey that began with a 19th-century grave robbery.

The Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta acquired the mummy in 1999 but offered to return it after studies by Egyptologists helped by high-tech scanning equipment indicated it was probably Ramses I, the museum Web site said.

The mummy — which bears a striking facial resemblance to Seti I and Ramses II, Ramses I’s immediate successors — was acquired by the U.S. museum from a museum at Niagara Falls on the U.S.-Canadian border.

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