- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

NATO seeks broader mandate

NATO agreed yesterday to expand its international peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan beyond Kabul for the first time in an attempt to bolster the authority of President Hamid Karzai.

Mr. Karzai, backed by many in the United Nations, has long argued that the peacekeeping operation needs to be stepped up to help the Kabul government assert itself over regional warlords and fend off attacks by Taliban sympathizers.

Just a few days before the second anniversary of the war that overthrew the Taliban regime, NATO said it would ask the U.N. Security Council to amend the mandate for the International Security Assistance Force, which currently operates only in and around the capital.

MALAYSIA

Tourism workers kidnapped at resort

KUALA LUMPUR — Armed kidnappers riding in a speedboat raided a remote resort in Malaysian Borneo, seizing six persons before escaping, officials said yesterday.

Three Indonesian and three Philippine migrant workers — all men in their 30s — were taken in the attack on the Borneo Paradise Eco-Farm Resort in eastern Sabah state at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Malaysian National Police Chief Norian Mai said.

CHINA

South Koreato close consulate

BEIJING — South Korea’s consulate in the Chinese capital will close for business indefinitely because it is housing too many North Korean refugees to continue operating smoothly and issuing visas, a South Korean diplomat said yesterday.

The diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that the closure will take effect today. The diplomat couldn’t say how long the office would be shut or how many North Korean asylum-seekers were inside.

The move means that anyone in China seeking a visa to South Korea is out of luck for the immediate future.

RUSSIA

Kremlin pick named Chechen leader

GROZNY — Officials declared Chechnya’s Kremlin-appointed leader the winner in the region’s presidential vote, a widely expected outcome after his main challengers withdrew or were removed from an election condemned by critics as a sham but promoted by Moscow as a step toward peace.

With more than 77 percent of the votes counted, acting President Akhmad Kadyrov had 81.1 percent, regional election commission Chairman Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov told reporters in Grozny yesterday.

Chechnya, a region of about 1 million people in southern Russia, has been ravaged by two separatist wars since 1994. Russian troops and rebels now are locked in a bloody stalemate.

CONGO

23 bodies found; massacre feared

KINSHASA — U.N. peacekeeping troops discovered 23 bodies in a village in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday, in what appeared to be the latest massacre of civilians.

“They were mostly killed by machetes and bullets,” Isabelle Abric, a U.N. spokeswoman in the region’s main town of Bunia, told Reuters news agency by telephone.

She said local people at the scene, three miles south of the town of Bule, which is about 40 miles northeast of Bunia, told peacekeepers that another 32 civilians also had been killed in the attack early yesterday and already had been buried.

KENYA

Visiting president praised by Bush

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki won an endorsement for his reform efforts from President Bush yesterday as the Kenyan leader began a state visit that he hopes will boost U.S. support for his country’s economy.

“Under President Kibaki’s leadership, Kenya is pursuing important reforms and making the difficult and necessary and rewarding transition to permanent multiparty democracy,” Mr. Bush said yesterday at the arrival ceremony for Mr. Kibaki on the White House South Lawn.

It was the fourth formal state visit of the Bush presidency and the first by an African leader.

HONG KONG

Court allows harbor landfill

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong court ruled yesterday that the government could proceed with a massive reclamation project that critics say will destroy the territory’s famous Victoria Harbor.

The Society for Protection of the Harbor Limited had asked the Court of First Instance to issue an injunction blocking reclamation work until a judicial review of its legality was carried out next year.

In his verdict, Judge Michael Hartmann said any ecological damage done to the already degraded waters in the harbor would be minimal. He also said work was at such an early stage that it could be undone if the judicial review ordered a halt.

BRITAIN

Disgraced ex-reporter found dead in home

LONDON — A former television correspondent who resigned after he admitted faking parts of a report on the war in Iraq has been found dead at his home in a possible suicide.

The body of James Forlong, 44, who had worked for Sky News for 10 years, was discovered yesterday, police said.

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