- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2004


‘Mercenaries’ may be hanged

HARARE — Zimbabwe has threatened to hang 64 men of different nationalities found aboard a plane that was impounded last Sunday.

Zimbabwe’s department of public prosecutions was consulting with police on the legal status of the 64 suspected “mercenaries” believed to be plotting a coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, the Catholic Information Service for Africa reported yesterday.

“They are going to face the severest punishment available in our statutes, including capital punishment,” the department’s director said. “We will give them all the rights they are entitled to.”


Police detain 2, uranium seized

LUSAKA — Zambia has detained two men suspected of possessing a cache of what police suspect could be bomb-grade uranium, police and the men’s lawyer said yesterday.

Police said they were conducting tests with scientists at the country’s best-equipped laboratory to determine the potency of the uranium.

The two men were arrested by state intelligence officers at the Lusaka Stock Exchange on Feb. 16, when Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa had been due to tour it, police said.


Catholic bishops praise ‘Passion’

BRASILIA — Catholic leaders in Brazil, the world’s biggest Roman Catholic country, said yesterday Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” was accurate and deeply emotional and its violence showed Jesus’ strength.

The movie depicting Jesus’ final 12 hours has provoked fierce debate worldwide, with critics accusing it of being anti-Semitic and sadistic.

Leading Brazilian Catholic bishops said at a news conference that it depicted neither Jews nor Romans as villains and that they saw a faithful portrayal of events in the Bible.


Nuclear agency head to visit Washington

VIENNA — Chief U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei will visit Washington next week for meetings with senior U.S. officials, likely to include President Bush, and discuss efforts to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.

Both Mr. Bush and Mr. ElBaradei have spoken out recently on the need to tighten export controls and other measures meant to prevent the black-market trade in nuclear technology and know-how.


Nun faces jail for drunken driving

WARSAW — A Benedictine nun is facing jail for driving a tractor into a car while drunk outside her convent in southwestern Poland, police said yesterday.

The 45-year-old nun will be charged with drunken driving and causing an accident, which carries a prison sentence of up to two years, a police spokesman in the southwestern Polish town of Dzierzoniow told the local news agency PAP.


Haitian rebels kidnap 36 businessmen

SANTO DOMINGO — Haitian rebels yesterday took 36 Dominican businessmen hostage, seeking to exchange them for a Haitian imprisoned in the Dominican Republic, Dominican authorities said.

The businessmen were taken captive in Ouanaminth, a rebel-held town along Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic.

The rebels have threatened to kill their captives if Santo Domingo does not release John Robert, arrested earlier on charges of killing two Dominican soldiers in February, said Ramon Garcia, a Dominican customs official.


Kidnappers free Turkish engineers

KABUL — Two Turkish engineers and an Afghan translator kidnapped in December were freed yesterday in a shootout between Afghan forces and their captors.

Two of the kidnappers were killed and two Afghan soldiers wounded in the rescue operation in a village 40 miles south of Kabul.


Buddhist refugee monk jailed for 20 months

HANOI — Vietnam has handed a 20-month jail term to a Buddhist monk who was granted refugee status by the United Nations but was forcibly brought back from Cambodia, a religious group said.

Thich Tri Luc, 50, a member of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, was sentenced by a Ho Chi Minh City court yesterday but should be released soon as he has already spent 19 months in detention, a statement by the Paris-based International Buddhist Information Bureau said.

The state-run Quan Doi Nhan Dan daily said the monk was jailed for “fleeing abroad for antigovernment activities.”


Explosion kills two, injures 4 U.S. soldiers

TIKRIT — An explosion early today in Saddam Hussein’s hometown killed two American soldiers and wounded four, the U.S. military said.

The soldiers were on patrol in downtown Tikrit, north of Baghdad, when a roadside bomb exploded, said Capt. Tim Crowe of the U.S. Army.

The soldiers were from the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division, which is taking over security in the Tikrit area today.

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