- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 20, 2003

SPAIN

Al Jazeera reporter tied to Hamburg cell

BERLIN — An Arab journalist held in Spain had close links with a Hamburg cell that formed a rear base for hijackers in the September 11 attacks, the German news magazine Der Spiegel is to report in its latest edition tomorrow.

Extracts from the magazine distributed in advance yesterday said Tayssir Alluni of the Arab Al Jazeera TV network was the brother-in-law of a cousin of a German-Syrian, Mohammed Zammar, suspected of recruiting for al Qaeda.



Zammar is currently being held in Syria.

The so-called Hamburg Cell in northern Germany has been described as the rear base for the September 11 attacks. Two members, Mounir El Motassadeq and Abdelghani Mzoudi, have so far faced trial for complicity in the attacks.

Alluni is a star reporter best known for interviewing the mastermind behind the attacks, Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan two years ago. He was arrested in southern Spain on Sept. 5.

SWITZERLAND

AIDS epidemiologists pan political barriers

GENEVA — As AIDS runs rampant in Africa and threatens calamity for India, China and Russia, epidemiologists say that even the promise of billions in rescue money cannot curb the disease as long as social and political barriers hamper the fight.

Peter Piot, director of UNAIDS, the U.N. agency fighting the disease, agreed that denial and a lack of urgency on the part of some governments blunted international action.

The U.N. General Assembly gathers for a special one-day session on AIDS tomorrow, brightened by the prospect of infusions of money, primarily President Bush’s promised $15 billion aid package.

LATVIA

Vote begins on joining EU

RIGA — Latvians began voting yesterday in the last referendum of the 10 candidate countries seeking membership in the European Union, a decision that could cement the former Soviet republic’s ties to the West.

Voters in the country of 2.4 million people are likely to approve membership, but not by the decisive margins neighboring Estonia and Lithuania did, observers say.

Weekly notes …

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday described President Bush as “a good partner and an open and decent man who is pleasant to work with.” … Mr. Putin’s wife, Lyudmila, visited Azerbaijan for one day to help promote the Russian language. …Thousands of beer drinkers from around the world, many in traditional Bavarian lederhosen, flocked to Munich for the beginning of the two-week Oktoberfest.

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