- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban suspects kill four aid workers

KANDAHAR — Motorcyclists suspected of being Taliban rebels stopped a car filled with aid workers, tied them up and executed them by the side of a dusty road in southeastern Afghanistan, raising fears in the aid community that vital reconstruction work is becoming too risky to carry out.

The attack follows intense fighting in the south and east of the country over the last few weeks that has killed four American soldiers and scores of guerrillas.

The four Afghans, who worked for the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees, were killed Monday afternoon in the Mokur district of Ghazni province.

The team had finished work on a water-supply project and was heading home when ambushed, an official said.

RUSSIA

Tycoon granted British asylum

MOSCOW — Boris Berezovsky, a Russian tycoon and former political insider who ran afoul of President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, said yesterday that he has been granted political asylum in Britain, a Moscow radio station reported.

A British government source confirmed that Mr. Berezovsky tentatively had been granted refugee status and said the final decision would rest with Home Secretary David Blunkett.

British police arrested Mr. Berezovsky in March over Russian charges that he and an associate defrauded a regional government of the equivalent of $13 million during the mid-1990s. He subsequently was released on bail.

SYRIA

Prime minister, Cabinet resign

DAMASCUS — Syria’s prime minister resigned yesterday along with his Cabinet, and President Bashar Assad asked the parliament speaker to form a new government, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The resignation of Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro’s government after three years had been expected since last month, when Mr. Assad said the country needed a reform-minded government.

Mr. Assad has designated Mohammed Naji al-Otari, 59, a former deputy prime minister and current speaker of parliament, as the new prime minister.

NEPAL

2,000 activists held after opposition rally

KATMANDU — Police detained about 2,000 political activists in the Nepalese capital yesterday after thousands defied a ban on protests and marched to demand that the king sack his prime minister and install a popular government.

About 10,000 protesters marched through the streets of Katmandu criticizing King Gyanendra for firing an elected prime minister in October and appointing two handpicked royalists in his place.

An Interior Ministry official said authorities had imposed a nighttime curfew in some areas on the outskirts of Katmandu and troops had been ordered to shoot on sight during the curfew to prevent any trouble.

BRITAIN

$1.25 million sapphire stolen

LONDON — Burglars have stolen a $1.25 million dark-blue sapphire belonging to a Russian heiress from a safe at a London publishing house, police said yesterday.

The sapphire, a family heirloom, was snatched from where it was being kept at the Moving Pictures company in central London along with a diamond necklace that the woman had been planning to wear at her wedding.

Police, who called the sapphire unique, said the woman spent most of her time with her family in Washington and had brought it to London to sell.

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