- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003


Mullah Omar reported to host Taliban meet

KABUL — Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar has held a meeting with other Taliban leaders to reorganize their resurgent campaign against U.S. forces and the Afghan government, a purported spokesman for the group said yesterday.

The spokesman, known to an Associated Press reporter as a Taliban militant, said the organization in the last few days “established a shura [council] under the leadership of Mullah Omar [that] appointed four committees — military, political, cultural and economic — to regulate all relevant matters.”


Banks must disclose Hamas accounts

BEIRUT — Lebanon said yesterday it has ordered banks to disclose the existence of any accounts linked to six leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, whose assets the United States has ordered frozen.

But a central bank official said there was no decision to freeze any accounts found and that any action to be taken would depend on the result of the probe.

A letter sent to bank officials also asked the banks to reveal accounts linked to five Palestinian groups that Washington accused of financially supporting Hamas, including Lebanon-based Sanabil Association for Relief and Development.


Chavez says bishops have lied about him

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday accused the local Catholic Church hierarchy of siding with his political opponents and spreading lies about his populist government.

Mr. Chavez accused the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, a gathering of Catholic bishops, of distributing leaflets questioning his policies and the rise in crime, poverty and unemployment.

“They are lying shamelessly. … The leaders of the Catholic Church here go against what the pope orders, what the pope says,” Mr. Chavez said in his regular Sunday television program.


Martin moves closer to succeeding Chretien

OTTAWA — Former Finance Minister Paul Martin took a major step toward becoming Canada’s next prime minister yesterday when he assumed a commanding lead in the race for head of the ruling Liberal Party.

Liberal Party members are voting this weekend to choose delegates to a convention Nov. 15 that will elect a leader to replace Jean Chretien, who is stepping down as prime minister in February.

Unofficial results released early yesterday showed that after two days of voting, Mr. Martin, a fiscal conservative, had won almost 92 percent of delegates compared with 8 percent for the only other person in the race, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps.


Gates grants millions for malaria research

MANHICA — Bill and Melinda Gates, touring a malaria clinic where they sat on reed mats while coddling babies, yesterday announced a $168 million grant to accelerate research into malaria, a disease that kills more than 1 million people each year, most of them African children.

The grant, by the world’s richest man and his wife, is the largest-ever single donation toward fighting the mosquito-borne disease, which is making a comeback in Africa.

“I hope we bring a message of commitment and optimism,” said Mr. Gates, the Microsoft tycoon who has pledged to use much of his fortune to improve global health.

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