- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

PAKISTAN

Nuclear-program hero confined to capital

ISLAMABAD — The father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, considered a national hero for giving the Islamic world its first atomic bomb, has been confined to the capital as investigators probe whether scientists leaked weapons technology, an acquaintance said yesterday.

Abdul Qadeer Khan has been questioned “many times” in recent weeks and he has been cooperating, Zahid Malik, author of the book “Islamic Bomb” on Pakistan’s nuclear program who met with Mr. Khan on Thursday, told the Associated Press.

After denying for years that its scientists might have been involved in proliferation and provided technology to North Korea, Iran, Libya and Iraq, Pakistan recently acknowledged that some individuals might have leaked information for personal profit.

CUBA

Castro hosts dinner for Orthodox leader

HAVANA — Cuban President Fidel Castro dined with Christian Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew and former King Constantine of Greece who are in Cuba for the opening today of an orthodox church built and donated by his communist government.

The visit is the most important to Cuba by a religious leader since Pope John Paul’s historic trip in 1998. Wealthy Greek-American businessmen, including New York supermarket magnate John Catsimatides and his wife, Margo, also attended the three-hour dinner Friday night at Havana’s Hotel Nacional.

YEMEN

Al Qaeda threatens revenge on U.S.

SAN’A — A Yemeni Web site yesterday published a statement purporting to come from the Yemeni wing of al Qaeda, in which it vowed to attack the United States to avenge the 2002 killing of its leader by a CIA drone.

A statement on the Web site said the attack would be in retaliation for the death of Ali al-Harthi, who was killed by a missile fired by the pilotless CIA drone at his car in eastern Yemen.

Yemen, seen in the West as a haven for al Qaeda, is Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland and has cooperated closely with the United States to crush his network.

INDIA

18 political prisoners freed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR — The government in Indian-controlled Kashmir yesterday released 18 political prisoners from jails in the strife-torn Himalayan region and promised to free another group soon as a peace overture, a news report said.

The prisoner release comes two days after historic talks between moderate Kashmiri separatist leaders and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani. The release of detainees was one of the key demands of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Kashmir’s most prominent separatist organization.

VENEZUELA

Kidnapped French tourist rescued

CARACAS — Venezuelan and French police freed a kidnapped French tourist from a jungle camp in western Venezuela, killing one of her abductors and capturing two others, police said yesterday.

Stephanie Minana, 25, was rescued Friday from the kidnappers’ camp in a remote, mountainous part of Trujillo state in Venezuela’s Andean region.

She was abducted on Dec. 8 while visiting her brother in the city of Valera, about 240 miles west of Caracas.

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