- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2003


15 intruders killed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR — Indian troops have killed 15 Muslim guerrillas in disputed Kashmir, foiling what they said was the biggest infiltration attempt from Pakistani territory in four months.

Casting a cloud over peace steps between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, such clashes have been increasing in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir in the buildup to the annual October spike in infiltration before snow blocks Himalayan passes.

An army spokesman said the rebels were killed after they were intercepted trying to cross into Indian Kashmir on Sunday night. Soldiers are searching for more rebels after the 18-hour battle north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, he said.


Land mines kill 9 Iraq-bound pilgrims

TEHRAN — Land mines killed nine pilgrims in western Iran who were trying to sneak into neighboring Iraq to visit holy Shi’ite Muslim sites, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said yesterday.

The blasts hit a group of 160 people Saturday as they tried to cross into Iraq from the border province of Ilam to visit holy sites at Najaf and Karbala, the agency said.


Government rejects pope’s cardinal choice

HANOI — Vietnam yesterday refused to recognize Pope John Paul II’s appointment of a new cardinal for Ho Chi Minh City, renewing tension between the Vatican and the communist country, which tightly controls religion.

Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man was chosen Sunday as one of 31 new cardinals. Officials at the Vietnamese Government Committee for Religious Affairs, however, said the Vatican had not sought permission to elevate Archbishop Man, and that they were unaware of the appointment.

An official in Rome said the Vatican never seeks permission regarding appointments of cardinals, and that nominations are entirely up to the pope.


Jordanian doctors treat Arafat for flu

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat emerged smiling from his battered West Bank compound yesterday after a bout with the flu and thanked Jordan for sending doctors to treat him.

Mr. Arafat, 74, had been ill for three days and unable to keep down food, said an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. The Palestinian leader sent for his personal physician, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, who lives in Jordan. Mr. Arafat has been trapped in his office building by Israeli soldiers for more than a year and a half.


Manuscript returned after 135 years

ADDIS ABABA — An ancient handwritten Book of Psalms taken from the fortress of Ethiopian Emperor Theodros by British troops 135 years ago was returned to the Horn of Africa country yesterday.

Ethiopia has campaigned for decades for the return of artifacts taken by European invaders in the past.

One of the most prominent campaigns has demanded that Italy return a 3,000-year-old obelisk looted from the holy city of Axum by fascist forces in 1937. Italy is in the process of dismantling the obelisk to send it back to Ethiopia.


Power restored to all after big blackout

ROME — Italy got its power back fully yesterday after a collapse of the electricity grid plunged millions into darkness, the latest blackout to hit a big Western economy.

As engineers nursed the network back to capacity, politicians said the freak outage Sunday had given Italy a wake-up call to make economic reforms, including measures to boost power output and cut reliance on electricity imports.

Tens of thousands of rail passengers were stranded as the grid went down, just four seconds after an interruption in French and Swiss power supplies at around 3:20 a.m.

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