- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 5, 2004


Al Jazeera office shut for inciting violence

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government shut down Al Jazeera’s Baghdad operations indefinitely yesterday, extending a one-month closure order imposed after the Arabic news channel was accused of inciting violence.

Officials at Al Jazeera said they were outraged.

Iraq’s Ministerial National Security Committee said that it had decided to extend a suspension ordered Aug. 5 because Al Jazeera failed to offer an explanation of its editorial policies.

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said last month that the government had convened an independent commission to monitor Al Jazeera’s daily coverage “to see what kind of violence they are advocating.”

Unlike Arab state-run media, Al Jazeera airs views of local opposition figures and their criticisms of their countries’ rulers. That practice has brought the station in conflict with authorities in other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and the former Iraqi regime.


Uranium to be mined within two years

SAGHAND — Iran will begin extracting uranium from deep under its central desert in less than two years, an official told the Associated Press yesterday during an unprecedented tour of the country’s uranium mine.

Iran maintains its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, despite U.S. charges it seeks nuclear weapons, and is pressing ahead with plans to control the whole nuclear fuel cycle from mining uranium ore to enriching uranium to be used in reactors.

The tour yesterday of the Saghand mine, about 300 miles south of Tehran, was the first time Iran has allowed an international news agency to visit a site related to its highly ambitious program to develop the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Iran wants to prove it has nothing to hide, but some countries, including the United States, say Iran is trying to build atomic bombs.


U.S. official optimistic on bin Laden’s capture

ISLAMABAD — The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the past two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast yesterday.

“If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught,” J. Cofer Black, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, told the private Geo television network.

Asked if concrete progress had been made during the past two months — when Pakistan had arrested dozens of terrorist suspects, including some key al Qaeda operatives — Mr. Black said, “Yes, I would say this.”


Trafficking reports worry church group

NAIROBI — The World Council of Churches (WCC) yesterday voiced concern over reports of child trafficking in Kenya, after an investigation spread to Britain and three African countries.

“I think trafficking of children, trafficking of babies, is a crime of the highest order, and this must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” WCC Secretary General Samuel Kobia said at a press conference in Nairobi.

A Kenyan court issued an international arrest warrant last week for British-based Kenyan televangelist Gilbert Deya, under investigation of alleged child trafficking.

Mr. Deya asserts that, through prayer, he can help women give birth in just four months, without engaging in sex.

Kenyan police have charged six persons, including Mr. Deya, of stealing children.

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