- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2004


Four militants killed in clash

RIYADH — Saudi security forces clashed with five wanted militants at a suspected hideout north of Riyadh yesterday, killing four and wounding one, a security official said.

A security agent was killed and two were wounded in the shootout at a house outside the town of Buraida, one of the kingdom’s fundamentalist strongholds.

Saudi Arabia launched a high-profile crackdown on terrorists after attacks in the capital, Riyadh, in May and November 2003. The government says it has foiled dozens of attacks, most of them blamed on al Qaeda.


U.S. hopes for deal on security plan

MOSCOW — A top U.S. diplomat said yesterday that he hoped Russia would join by June 1 a group of nations prepared to board ships and raid suspect factories in a bid to stem the trade in weapons of mass destruction.

But Undersecretary of State John Bolton’s Russian partner poured cold water on his optimism, saying Moscow still sought answers to several questions about President Bush’s Proliferation Security Initiative.

Russia is the only member of the Group of Eight major industrial nations outside the security initiative’s core group. If Russia joined the security-initiative group, U.S. officials think this would influence China, another key power, to back the program.


Film on sex pulled over racial fears

LONDON — A British TV channel said it was pulling a documentary it had planned to air yesterday that claims to depict how men of South Asian origin groom and target white girls as young as 11 for sex and drug abuse in a city in northeast England.

Channel Four said it was postponing the documentary, “Edge of the City,” out of fears that it would stoke racial tensions in Bradford, where the documentary was filmed.

Bradford and neighboring Oldham and Burnley, all of which have large South Asian communities, long have been hotbeds of racial tension and in June 2001 were the staging grounds of Britain’s worst race riots in years.


Foreign minister hopes Bush will lose

STOCKHOLM — Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds told a group of high school students that she thought it would be better if President Bush was not re-elected, it was reported yesterday.

“I think it would be very good if he isn’t,” Mrs. Freivalds said in response to a question on whether she thought Mr. Bush would win a second term as president in the November elections. The comments provoked criticism from opposition parties.

Mrs. Freivalds’ spokesman said her remarks had been misinterpreted. “There was a larger context to what she was saying. She wasn’t talking about Bush the candidate, but rather about his party. … As a Social Democrat, she feels closer to the [U.S.] Democratic Party,” he said.


Woman, 63, dies after reaching Everest

TOKYO — A 63-year-old Japanese woman died while descending Mount Everest after making it to the top of the world’s highest mountain, her tour guide company said today.

Shoko Ota had made it to the summit with a guide and a fellow climber yesterday, but was unable to move and lost consciousness during descent, about 1,100 feet from the summit of the 29,000-foot mountain, Tokyo-based Adventure Guides Co. said.

Mrs. Ota previously had climbed Mount Cho-Oyu, a 26,900-foot-high peak in the Himalayas, in October 2002.

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