- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2005

RUSSIA

Putin removes jobs from economic adviser

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday stripped many of the duties of his top economic adviser — an outspoken critic who has accused the Kremlin of trying to muzzle voices of dissent and civil society in Russia.

Andrei Illarionov was stripped of his responsibilities as Russia’s envoy to the Group of Eight industrial nations, the Kremlin said, and another top adviser, Igor Shuvalov, was given his duties.

After the Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko won Ukraine’s court-ordered presidential election last month, Mr. Illarionov said the outcome should help Russia lose its “imperial complex” toward former Soviet republics such as Ukraine.

He called last month’s Kremlin-orchestrated auction of oil giant Yukos’ main production unit the “fraud of the year.”

PERU

Police start raid to free seized town

LIMA — Peruvian police and troops yesterday launched an offensive to retake a police station in a southern Andean town and end a three-day siege by former soldiers demanding the resignation of unpopular President Alejandro Toledo.

Live television pictures showed the streets of the farm town of Andahuaylas, 560 miles southeast of Lima, deserted in heavy rain.

The location of former army Maj. Antauro Humala, who launched his action before dawn on New Year’s Day to demand Mr. Toledo’s resignation, was not clear.

KUWAIT

Soldiers held in plot against U.S. forces

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwaiti security forces have detained up to eight Kuwaiti soldiers suspected of plotting to attack U.S. forces in the Gulf Arab state, a security source said yesterday.

The soldiers, some of whom are high-ranking officers, and several non-Kuwaiti citizens were detained a week ago and are being questioned about a suspected plan to attack U.S. soldiers in Kuwait, the launching point for the 2003 war on Iraq.

The United States has warned Americans in Kuwait that militants are preparing to launch attacks in the Gulf Arab state and has urged its citizens to be vigilant.

IRAQ

Al Jazeera chief seen with Saddam’s son

BEIRUT — A videotape found in Baghdad after the ouster of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein shows a manager for Al Jazeera television thanking one of Saddam’s sons for his support, the newspaper Asharq al-Awsat says.

The London-based Arabic paper, which has ties to an Al Jazeera rival and has been feuding with the channel, said Sunday that the tape is dated March 13, 2000, and shows Al Jazeera manager Mohammed Jassem al-Ali telling Uday Hussein: “Al Jazeera is your channel.”

Al Jazeera fired Mr. al-Ali shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. No reason was given, but many in the Arab press speculated that Mr. al-Ali had been receiving support from Saddam’s government.

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