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A Reality Check in Afghan Homeland
Until last week, Solaiman Faizi's biggest problems were making sure that guests at his newly opened hotel didn't burn the place down with their small propane stoves or overload the tenuous power supply.

Milosevic Says He's the Victim
Slobodan Milosevic finally got his day in court Thursday, and he made the most of it.

Palestinian Militants Bomb Tank; 3 Israeli Soldiers Die
A powerful explosion ripped apart an Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, killing three soldiers and wounding another, an army spokesman said.

China Quells Sect Protests, Detains About 40 Westerners
About 40 Western followers of the outlawed Falun Gong meditation group were taken away by police Thursday after they mounted a series of protests in Tiananmen Square, the heart of the Chinese capital.

Tiny Bahrain's Emir Decides It's Better to Be King
When does an emir get to become a king? When he says so.

Democrats Challenge Bush on Weapons Reduction Plan
Senate Democrats on Thursday challenged the Bush administration's new approach to the U.S. nuclear arsenal, arguing that proposed reductions represent far less change than claimed and could increase the threat of arms proliferation.

Colombian Guerrillas Sound Off
In a bit of high political drama, a handful of Colombia's presidential candidates faced off Thursday with the nation's largest rebel group as part of an ongoing effort to rescue the country's peace process.

Immunity Ruling Is a Setback to Belgium
The International Court of Justice ruled Thursday that government ministers charged with war crimes can be protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity, dealing a major blow to Belgium's attempt to put Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on trial.

'It Is Nonsensical to Accuse the Wrong Side'
Here are quotes from former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's more than four-hour statement Thursday before the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague:

Kidnap Suspect Lied, Says Pakistan
Authorities accused the suspected mastermind in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl of trying to derail the investigation with lies after he stunned a courtroom Thursday by saying he believed that the journalist was dead.

Russia Warns U.S. on Iraq
Russian officials from President Vladimir V. Putin down made clear Thursday Russia's strong opposition to any U.S. military action against Iraq.

Afghan Official Is Slain at Airport
A mob of Muslim pilgrims, angered by two-day flight delays, attacked and killed Afghanistan's interim transportation minister at the airport here Thursday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said today.

Attack on Afghan Base Injured 2 U.S. Soldiers, Army Reports
Gunmen came within 50 yards of U.S. positions on the main American base in southern Afghanistan in an apparently well-organized attack that left two soldiers slightly injured, an Army spokesman said Thursday.

Crime Wave May Cost Police Local Autonomy
The government warned police chiefs that it would intervene if they failed to halt growing lawlessness on British streets.

Help Is Sought to End Insurgency
Liberian President Charles Taylor protested a "conspiracy of silence" by the international community, calling for world leaders to help end a 2-year-old insurrection.

Lawmakers Fight Blair's House of Lords Reforms
British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced a rebellion by lawmakers opposed to his plan to overhaul the House of Lords so that most members would be chosen by politicians. A broad majority of legislators wants an upper chamber elected by the people.

Journalist Is Dead, Says Key Suspect in Pakistan
The key suspect in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl appeared before an anti-terrorism court today and told a judge "as far as I understand, Daniel Pearl is dead."

Israeli Troops Withdraw After Gaza Raid
The Israeli army pulled out of the Palestinian-controlled town of Beit Hanoun late Wednesday, after the most sweeping ground operation in the Gaza Strip since fighting began nearly 17 months ago.

Milosevic Sneers at Court, Challenges Its Legitimacy
After nearly two days of listening to charges that he led a blood-drenched campaign of terror in the Balkans, Slobodan Milosevic on Wednesday angrily challenged the legality of the international court trying him for war crimes.

Shortfalls in Africa's Battle on Malaria
As African countries decide how to fight a resurgence of malaria, many are switching to drugs that are largely ineffective, a report by the aid group Doctors Without Borders warned Wednesday.

Venezuela Currency Plunges
The national currency plunged against the U.S. dollar Wednesday after President Hugo Chavez abandoned exchange rate controls to try to stem capital flight and restore investor confidence in Venezuela's ailing economy.

40 Mecca Pilgrims Killed in Bus Crash
A bus carrying Muslims attending the annual hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca collided with a truck in eastern Saudi Arabia, killing 40 pilgrims and injuring 10 others, the state news agency reported.

U.S. Base Attacked; Troops Return Fire
U.S. forces scrambled helicopter gunships and exchanged fire Wednesday with attackers who shot at the American base in southern Afghanistan, the Army said. No U.S. casualties resulted from the attack, but at another base, a U.S. soldier was crushed to death by falling equipment.

Iran Has Arrested Al Qaeda Fighters, Newspaper Reports
Iranian security forces have arrested Al Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan and are hunting others who have slipped across the border, an Iranian newspaper reported Wednesday.

U.S. Strike on Iraq Still an Option, Bush Warns
President Bush issued an ominous warning to Saddam Hussein on Wednesday, saying the Iraqi president "needs to understand I am serious" about launching preemptive strikes beyond Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist threats against the United States.

Al Qaeda Suspect, Cornered by Yemeni Police, Kills Self
A suspected Al Qaeda member, believed to have links to one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, blew himself up Wednesday after being cornered by security forces.

Pearl's Contact Now a Kidnap Suspect
He was one of the first sources for abducted Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and his rhetoric of wounded pride echoes the Pearl kidnap notes.

Austrian Defends Visit to Iraq
Austrian far-right politician Joerg Haider on Wednesday defended a controversial visit to Iraq and accused the United States of picking on Baghdad as a pretext for building up its arms industry.

Ruling Favors Reporter Convicted of Treason
Russia's Supreme Court dealt another blow to prosecutors seeking to uphold a treason conviction against military journalist Grigory Pasko, striking down a 1990 order that restricted contacts between members of the military and foreigners.

Book Publisher Cleared of Propaganda Charges
A man hauled into court for publishing a book by U.S. linguist Noam Chomsky was acquitted of spreading separatist propaganda.

Ex-Red Army Member Sentenced for Hijacking
A former member of Japan's Red Army terrorist group was sentenced to 12 years in prison today for hijacking a plane to North Korea in 1970, court officials said.

Sportsmen Outfoxed as Hunting Ban Is Passed
The Scottish Parliament voted to ban fox hunting, making Scotland the first part of Britain to outlaw the centuries-old sport in which hunters on horseback charge across fields chasing foxes with a pack of hounds.

Sorting Through Truth, Fiction in Afghan Prison
The grimy building off a back street looks like most of the other minor government ministries here in the Afghan capital. But two flights underground, past several steel doors, is a prison that was infamous for its squalor in the days of the Taliban.
© by Hilmar Boehle

Palestinian Bomber Kills 2 Israelis
Two Israeli teenagers were killed and 30 others were injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a crowded pizza restaurant inside a West Bank settlement shortly after the Jewish Sabbath ended Saturday night.

Ice Sculpting Comes In From the Cold in Russia
As winter's dim sun rose over this city's golden towers and palaces, tens of thousands of people gathered on the banks of the half-frozen Neva River, braving the chilly wind whipping in from the Gulf of Finland.

Attacks Kill at Least 5 in Philippines
Grenade blasts ripped through a market and a movie theater in the southern Philippines on Saturday, killing at least five people as more U.S. troops arrived under tight security to join a growing American force on a new front in the campaign against terrorism.

Egypt's Dinosaur Economy Lumbers On With Aid
Mohammed Abdu needs only $65 a month to cover his expenses. But these days, even that seems out of reach. The government never came through with the job it promises every college graduate, and it's about to strip away the sole source of income he managed to find: hawking cheap imported clothing on the street.

Slaying of Afghan Minister Shakes Faith in Government
A slain Cabinet minister was buried on a muddy hillside here Saturday, the fog that shrouded his simple wooden casket echoing the cloud of suspicion and intrigue that surrounds his death and threatens to envelope Afghanistan's fragile peace and struggling government.

Search for U.S. Reporter Focuses on New Suspect
After aiming for the top and failing, investigators searching for kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl have turned their attention away from the confessed mastermind of the abduction to a lower-level militant who allegedly sent Pearl off to the fake meeting that led to his disappearance.

Afghans' Hajj Prospects Look Grim
Lala Khan sold off about 20 acres of his farm to make most of the money for his holy pilgrimage to Mecca. The rest he borrowed from a relative. The only thing stopping him now, he says, is the United States.

Real Security Is Elusive, New Afghan Police Force Finds
This past week, tribal leaders launched the first multi-faction police squad here, no small feat in the ethnically combustible city.

An Afghan Governor With a Touch of L.A.
A single gas lamp lights the gloomy second-floor room where Taj Mohamad Wardak has lived since he arrived to become governor of turbulent Paktia province last week.

Voting Observer Is Forced Out of Zimbabwe
The government forced Europe's top election observer to leave the country Saturday, deepening a dispute with the European Union that threatens to further isolate the southern African country.

Milosevic's Wife Praises His Speech at The Hague
Slobodan Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic, told the weekly magazine Nacional that her husband's opening speech at the U.N. war crimes trial in The Hague showed that he was "totally superior and relaxed" in facing his accusers.

Prosecutors Send IRA Case to Judge
Prosecutors have accused three suspected Irish Republican Army members of training leftist rebels in Colombia and of using false documents, the attorney general's office said.

Ethnic Clashes Leave as Many as 200 Dead
Up to 200 people have been killed in ethnic clashes in northeastern Congo in the last two days, tribal sources said.

Al Qaeda Linked to Russian Arms Broker
A man in Belgian custody has told U.S. authorities about business ties between the Al Qaeda terrorist network and a Russian arms broker, delivering a breakthrough in long-frustrated efforts to dismantle one of the world's largest weapons-trafficking operations, authorities said.

Vatican to Open Some WWII-Era Files on Pius XII
The Vatican, seeking to answer criticism that Pope Pius XII did little to oppose the Nazi slaughter of Jews, pledged Friday to open some of its secret World War II-era archives next year.

New Kosovo Administrator Tells Parties to Make Up
Kosovo's new U.N. administrator, Michael Steiner, warned feuding local politicians Friday that the time has come for them to stop bickering and strike a deal on forming a new government.

Outsider Enters Japanese Ranks
He calls himself Japan's first "lawmaker with blue eyes," and he has a mission: to end racial discrimination in this long-homogenous culture.

Israel Raids Gaza as Criticism Grows
Israeli warplanes struck a security compound in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday night, killing a Palestinian policeman and wounding 25 people, Palestinian authorities said. The raid came a day after three Israeli soldiers died in the same area when a powerful mine blew apart their heavily armored tank.

Deadly Winter Stills Butterflies' Wings in Mexico
A trek through the 9,000-foot-high pine forests of the El Rosario sanctuary normally leads to a breathtaking spectacle this time of year: As the winter sun hits the boughs of the trees in midmorning, millions of monarch butterflies begin to quiver and shimmer, and then take flight.

Milosevic to Summon Leaders to the Stand
Heatedly rejecting charges of mass murder and deportations, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic said Friday that he will call former President Clinton and a host of world leaders to testify that he brought peace to the Balkans.

China Expels Western Falun Gong Members
About 25 members of Falun Gong expelled from China after protesting in Beijing's Tiananmen Square returned to the United States on Friday, displaying bruises, cuts and scrapes from what they said were police beatings.

6 Are Accused in Afghan Slaying
Interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai on Friday accused high-ranking government officials of masterminding the brutal slaying of Afghanistan's aviation minister, who was killed during a riot at Kabul's airport a day earlier.

Breakthrough Expected in Kidnap Case, Pakistan Says
Pakistan's interior minister on Friday predicted a "major breakthrough" and more arrests within 48 hours in the search for Daniel Pearl. The official rejected a claim from Pearl's self-confessed kidnapper that the Wall Street Journal reporter is dead.

Indonesia Seen as 'Weakest Link' in Anti-Terror War
From prayer groups to prison cells to this village of tin-roofed, clapboard houses, three Indonesian clerics pursued their vision of an Islamic state stretching across much of Southeast Asia.

Austrian Firebrand Quits Post
Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider, who drew strong criticism for his visit to Iraq, said Friday that he would quit national politics and focus on his role as governor of Carinthia province.

Regime Issues Warning to U.S. Amid Celebration
North Korean military officers and party cadets rallied to celebrate leader Kim Jong Il's 60th birthday, calling for heightened vigilance after President Bush's condemnation of the Communist regime.

Man's Death Is Blamed on 'Mad Cow' Disease
A fourth person in France is believed to have died of the human form of "mad cow" disease, a health research institute said.

Officials Probe Fires at Immigration Center
British police and immigration officials were investigating a series of fires that broke out during a disturbance at Europe's largest detention center for asylum seekers.

19 People Reportedly Die in Kashmir Clashes
At least 19 people were killed in separatist violence in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, Indian forces said.

Bush Puts Asia Back at Top of Agenda
President Bush set off Saturday for a three-nation tour of Asia that will finally get him back to the region--and issues--he initially intended to make a cornerstone of his administration's foreign policy.