- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2004


Troops arrest kin of Saddam’s top aide

TIKRIT — U.S. troops on Tuesday arrested a relative of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, and think he may help in the hunt for the most senior former regime figure still at large.

Lt. Col. Steven Russell, who led the operation, described the suspect as a “close relative” of al-Douri, who was vice chairman of the Ba’ath Party’s Revolutionary Command Council and a longtime confidant of Saddam’s.

The United States has put a $10 million bounty on al-Douri.


Khamenei asks panel to review vote ban

TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, yesterday called on the hard-line Guardian Council for a second time to review its ban on hundreds of candidates for the Feb. 20 vote.

Reformist allies of President Mohammed Khatami, who previously said they would boycott the election even if all the barred candidates were reinstated, hinted that they might be prepared to accept the new deal.

After the ayatollah first ordered the review of the bans last week, the Guardian Council reinstated one-third of those who had appealed, leaving more than 2,000 off the ballot.


Police arrest 100 to stop protest

HARARE — Zimbabwean police arrested more than 100 people yesterday during a crackdown on an antigovernment protest, witnesses said.

Lovemore Madhuku, an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe who called the protest, said he was assaulted and severely injured while leading the demonstration, which was illegal under Zimbabwean law.

Mr. Madhuku, chairman of the political pressure group National Constitutional Assembly, said police had detained 116 persons near a square in central Harare where the NCA was to hold a demonstration to press its demands for constitutional reform.


Hijackers steal 9,000 passports

PARIS — A gang of armed and masked men stole 9,000 blank French passports and 6,000 vehicle registration cards after hijacking a truck that was transporting the documents to a police station in a northern suburb of Paris on Tuesday.

Officials said the robbery could pay off handsomely, with each passport fetching up to $1,880 on the black market.


Prince on debut misplaces Portugal

OSLO — Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon caused a stir on his debut as royal host by placing Portugal on the Mediterranean Sea in a speech delivered in honor of that country’s visiting president.

Portugal’s entire coastline is on the Atlantic Ocean, and the blunder forced a public apology from the palace yesterday.

The 31-year-old prince, who holds a master’s degree in political science from the London School of Economics and has undergone diplomatic training at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, was filling in for his father, King Harald V, by playing host to an official visit Tuesday by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio.


Bird flu toll rises to 15

HANOI — The death toll from Asia’s bird flu outbreak rose to 15 yesterday as the virus ravaged poultry flocks in 10 countries.

Vietnam said a 17-year-old girl had died of the disease, and Thailand said tests confirmed that a 6-year-old boy who died earlier in the week had been infected with the H5N1 virus, which could cross the species barrier.

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