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Russia's Last Free Channel Dealt a Blow
The only Russian television network that consistently airs criticism of President Vladimir V. Putin lost a pivotal fight for survival Friday when the Supreme Arbitration Court upheld a ruling that the station is insolvent and must be liquidated.

In Nairobi, Tax Tiff Takes Racial Turn
The Zimbabwe-style seizures of white-owned farms and homes haven't begun here--at least not yet.

Floating Argentine Peso Declines by About 40%
Showing little confidence in their country's economic future, Argentines drove down the value of their national currency, the peso, as it floated on the open market for the first time Friday after a decade when it was worth a dollar.

Green Campaign's Edges Turn Brown
Black ice still encrusts the sidewalks, and it's dark by 4 p.m., but thoughts have turned to all things green this week as Germany's guardians of consumer protection assess the costs and benefits of a yearlong campaign against mad cow disease and other food crises.

Colombians in Rebel Zone Fear for Their Safety
This frontier town looks pretty much the same as another one just 30 miles southwest called Puerto Rico. In both places, music blares from bars along the main drag. Pigs and cows amble through dusty streets. People crowd into roadside stores selling saddles, machetes and sides of beef.

Palestinians Arrest 2 Officials Over Arms Seizure
Palestinian police on Friday detained two senior Palestinian officials suspected of trying to smuggle a boatload of arms into the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said.

Bodies of 15 Recovered After Fishing Boat Sinks
Rescue workers recovered the bodies of 15 fishermen whose boat sank in the Red Sea, police said. The Egyptian navy was still searching for 24 missing fishermen.

Schroeder Challenger Selected
Germany's conservatives chose a state governor with a rightist image and strong economic credentials Friday to challenge Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, ending months of wavering over their political direction heading into September parliamentary elections.

Somalia Assails U.S. Terror Allegations
The president of Somalia's transitional government said Friday that his people had been terrorized by a U.S. propaganda campaign portraying the country as a possible haven for Osama bin Laden's followers.

Army Chief Issues Blunt Warning to Pakistan
India's army chief issued a blunt warning to Pakistan, pledging massive retaliation if it launches a nuclear attack.

Ex-Administrator Convicted in Attacks
A former administrator on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica was convicted of ordering arson attacks that destroyed two seaside cafes in 1999.

Rebels Reportedly Will Reactivate Army
A former ethnic Albanian rebel commander in Macedonia issued a statement saying the militants were reorganizing because of government inaction on a peace accord.

Journalists Vow to Defy Planned Limits on Media
Media outlets in Zimbabwe said they plan to defy a proposed law that would severely restrict their freedoms before the presidential election. Five news groups also said they would challenge the Access to Information and Privacy Bill in court if it is signed into law.

Bush to Visit S. Korea, China, Japan Next Month
President Bush will visit Japan, South Korea and China next month--a tour scheduled for last fall but canceled after Sept. 11.

Camps Thrive in Pakistan, India Charges
While pressure mounts on Pakistan to take tougher action against terrorism, India's top spy agency charges that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has done nothing to dismantle what it says are at least 17 terrorist training camps in territory under his control.

Unspeakable Loss Shakes Marine Base
As investigators Thursday tried to determine what caused the deadly crash of a Marine Corps plane on a cargo mission in Pakistan, Marines here mourned the loss of seven colleagues.

20 Terror Prisoners on Way to Cuba
A U.S. military cargo plane left Afghanistan on Thursday with the first group of Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners to be transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as human rights activists criticized their treatment, citing hooded and possibly drugged detainees being sent to cage-like cells.

Nations Propose to Fight Terror
Most governments have complied with a Security Council demand for reports on their plans to combat terrorism, but it will be months before the documents are thoroughly reviewed and the council's responses will be kept confidential, the British diplomat overseeing the process said Thursday.

Pakistan Pledges to Curb Militants
President Pervez Musharraf vowed Saturday that Pakistan will dismantle the structure of extremism in mosques and religious schools that he said has bred violence and perverted Islam in this country. He also banned five militant organizations, saying Pakistanis are tired of a Kalashnikov culture.
© by Hilmar Boehle

Rule of Gun on the Rise After Ouster of the Taliban
Ayub slowed as he approached the random checkpoint, manned, as it were, by a boy with an AK-47 slung across his chest. The instant the young guard lowered his hands from his gun, convinced that the car was stopping, Ayub stomped on the accelerator.

Colombia Leader Rejects Rebels Peace Proposal
President Andres Pastrana rejected a last-ditch proposal to save Colombia's shattered peace process late Saturday, thrusting the country to the brink of an all-out civil war.

Eating Disorders on Rise for South African Blacks
The pencil-thin models in the glossy Western fashion magazines seemed to beckon to Gcina.
Costly Lessons of Argentina's Financial Folly

Turkey Worries Iraq Is Next on U.S. List of Targets
With a deafening roar, a U.S.-made F-16 fighter jet streaks across the sky above this drab town about 320 miles west of the Iraqi border.

Russians Target Rebels in Chechnya
Moscow sent bombers and helicopters in aerial assaults against rebels in Chechnya, pressing a campaign that has drawn renewed U.S. allegations of rights violations--and a sharp Kremlin retort to the American claims.

Catholic Slain at Belfast Postal Office
A Roman Catholic postal worker was shot and killed as he arrived for work in Belfast on Saturday, and an outlawed Protestant group claimed responsibility.

Mideast Expected to Again Lead the U.N. Agenda
The Security Council began its first session of the new year by hearing an impassioned demand that it pay more attention to the Middle East. The preoccupation with Afghanistan threatens to make the Israeli-Palestinian dispute a mere footnote in deliberations here, said Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe.

Turks Protest Destruction of Castle in Mecca
About 300 Turks burned pictures of the Saudi king Saturday to protest the destruction of an Ottoman-era castle in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Non-Muslims in Pakistan Seek a Political Voice
The Christmas tree festooned with lights and tinsel still stands in Cecil Chaudry's living room, a cluster of unwrapped presents at its base. He knows, of course, that most other Christians in this Islamic republic have already taken down their trees, but he has dawdled, preferring to keep the spirit of the season alive.

Saudi-Backed Web Supports Terrorism, Book Asserts
An unlikely bestseller has emerged lately in France, dueling head to head with the memoirs of the president's wife, a biography of Victor Hugo and a philosophical treatise on good and evil.

Afghanistan Begins to Rebuild as U.S. Siege Narrows
This country increasingly feels like two countries: a southeastern swath that is under siege from American bombing where suspected Al Qaeda operatives are believed to be hiding, and the remainder, which is starting the process of rebuilding.

The Dead
One new name, Albert Joseph, was added in recent days to the list of confirmed dead in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. This list updates accountings that have appeared in The Times each Sunday since Sept. 11. The number of people unaccounted for, according to New York City officials, is now believed to be 309.

Entrants Sought in Giza Museum Design Contest
Egypt has opened an international competition for architects to design a museum near the Pyramids of Giza to house a vast collection of Pharaonic treasures.

Prosecutors Protest Against Government
Italian prosecutors staged a nationwide protest against the government, accusing it of trying to curb their independence and meddling in trials to protect conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his allies.

More White Farms Looted, Group Says
Government-backed militants embarked on a new looting campaign of white-owned farms this month, forcing 23 landowners from their homes, a Zimbabwean farmers organization said.

U.S. Warns Iran Against Afghan Meddling, Aiding Terrorists
President Bush told Iran on Thursday that it faces serious retribution from the United States if it tries to destabilize the new interim government in Afghanistan or provides a haven for fleeing terrorists.

Pilot: Straight, Proud and Tall
He was everyone All-American gone to war. Tall, athletic, brainy and ramrod straight--in stature and in his march through life--Capt. Matthew W. Bancroft never took his eyes off the destination.