- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2003


Blair ‘mystified’ by Clinton comment

LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair is “mystified” by reports that he discussed his heart problem with former President Clinton several years ago because doctors just discovered his medical condition, a spokesman said yesterday.

Mr. Clinton was quoted in the Sunday Mirror newspaper as saying that he called Mr. Blair as soon as he learned the prime minister was briefly hospitalized last week for an irregular heartbeat.

“I’ve known about this for a long time,” Mr. Clinton said. “He told me about it quite a few years ago. As soon as I heard what happened, I called to check he was OK.”

Mr. Blair’s spokesman said, “We are slightly mystified by this story, as this is the first time this has happened. The prime minister … has never had this complaint before.”


American lands in Soyuz capsule

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying an American, a Russian and a Spaniard landed safely early today in the wide-open steppes of Kazakhstan, Russian space officials said.

The 3-hour descent was only the second time that a U.S. astronaut has come home in a Russian craft, landing on foreign soil. Since the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February put NASA manned space flights on hold, the Russian Soyuz capsules have been the linchpin of the International Space Station program.

The previous Soyuz landing in May was marred by a computer error that sent the U.S. and Russian crew 250 miles off course during a very rough descent.


American deported after early release

BEIJING — Citing his “repentant behavior,” China deported a Chinese-born American citizen convicted of obtaining state secrets and put him on a plane to the United States yesterday, less than two years before his prison sentence was to expire.

Fong Fuming, 68, a naturalized American and a business consultant from West Orange, N.J., had been on a list of 13 prisoners the U.S. government identified to China as priority cases.

Officials as senior as Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had brought up his case with Chinese leaders.


Hezbollah attack draws Israeli fire

BEIRUT — Hezbollah guerrillas shelled Israeli positions in southern Lebanon yesterday for the first time in two months, wounding an Israeli soldier and triggering Israeli air strikes and artillery fire, security officials said yesterday.

Lebanese officials said Hezbollah forces fired rockets and mortar shells at the Israeli military outposts of Roueissat el-Alam, al-Samaka and Ramtha inside the disputed Chebaa Farms area.

Hezbollah said in a statement that its guerrillas attacked the Israeli positions with rockets, scoring “direct hits” on the “first day of blessed Ramadan,” the Muslim holy month of fasting.


Authorities question al Qaeda suspects

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan yesterday questioned three suspected al Qaeda operatives captured over the weekend, but the interior minister said a top fugitive financier for the terror network was not among them.

Police have been searching for Ahmad Said al-Kadr, an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen, since he escaped a major military operation on Oct. 2 in the South Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat confirmed yesterday that intelligence services have caught three suspected al Qaeda members, all from Yemen, but said “none of them is an important al Qaeda leader.”

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