- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Report says al Qaeda capable of big attack

NEW YORK ” A U.N. team investigating compliance with sanctions against al Qaeda and the Taliban predicted yesterday that brutal attacks by Osama bin Laden’s followers will escalate as they still have easy access to bomb-making materials and money.

Al Qaeda remains capable of mounting “devastating attacks” and sanctions are only having a limited effect on the group, which is still keen to acquire chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, a U.N. report said. It is only “a matter of time” before a successful attack occurs, it said.

The semiannual report will be considered by the full Security Council at a later stage.


Chavez, Colombian end row over rebel

CARACAS ” Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez and Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe agreed yesterday to boost security cooperation and restart stalled trade deals after meeting to end a dispute over a captured Colombian guerrilla leader.

Yesterday’s meeting was the first between the two presidents since the December arrest of leading Marxist rebel Rodrigo Granda, whose capture triggered the worst diplomatic quarrel between the Andean neighbors in decades.

Mr. Chavez had recalled his Bogota envoy and frozen trade projects after accusing Colombia of violating Venezuelan sovereignty by paying bounty hunters to kidnap Granda from Caracas.


Thousands attend slain nun’s funeral

ANAPU ” Thousands of people, from peasants to politicians, converged on this remote Amazon town yesterday to bury the bullet-ridden body of an elderly American nun killed in the struggle to protect the Amazon rain forest and its poor residents from loggers and ranchers.

After an all-night vigil, mourners filed past the simple, flag-draped coffin holding the remains of Sister Dorothy Stang in the small, shingle-roofed church of Anapu, the town of 7,000 residents that the nun adopted as her own.

Violence claimed another victim yesterday in the state of Para, where Anapu is located. Two assailants gunned down Daniel Soares da Costa, the former president of the Rural Workers Union in Paraupebas, 210 miles from Anapu.


Anti-Semitism on the rise

STRASBOURG ” The Council of Europe’s human rights monitoring body yesterday voiced concern about the sharp increase in anti-Semitism in France, urging the country to do more to battle the phenomenon.

“Anti-Semitism has increased alarmingly in France, notably in the school environment,” the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), an independent body formed by the 46-nation Council, said in a report.

Last month, the French interior ministry reported that more than 1,500 racist acts had been committed in 2004, up more than 80 percent as compared with 2003. Nearly two-thirds of those acts were anti-Semitic in nature.


Muslim singer wins damages from papers

LONDON ” Yusuf Islam, formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens, said yesterday he had won substantial damages from two British newspapers that linked him with terrorism.

The Muslim, who changed his name after converting to Islam in the 1970s, was on a flight from London to Washington when it was diverted to Bangor, Maine, in September. He was then deported from the United States under suspicion of being involved in terrorism. The newspapers suggested the U.S. authorities had been right to refuse him entry to the country.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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