Eastern India in Chaos After Cyclone
PARADWIP, India--Angry mobs looted aid trucks, robbed people and fought over food in cyclone-ravaged eastern India yesterday. Bloated human corpses lay rotting for mile after mile alongside the carcasses of cows, goats and pigs in rice fields that have become lakes and roads that have been turned into rivers.
Five days after eastern Orissa state was pounded by one of India's worst cyclones, officials had no way to estimate an accurate death toll. A senior army officer involved in the rescue operation said that it could reach 10,000 to 20,000.
Taliban Refuses to Hand Over Bin Laden
KABUL, Afghanistan--The foreign minister of the ruling Taliban militia said it would never hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States for trial on terrorist charges. Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil told reporters that the Taliban is ready to negotiate with Washington. But, he added, "We will never force him to leave Afghanistan, or hand him over."
The United Nations has threatened to impose sanctions on Afghanistan beginning Nov. 14 if it does not turn over bin Laden, who faces charges he masterminded the twin bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa last year. Bin Laden has denied the charges.
E. Timor Commander Seeks Cooperation
DILI, East Timor--Australian Maj. Gen. Peter Cosgrove, commander of the international peacekeeping force in East Timor, said he is frustrated that Indonesia's army has failed to heed his appeal for high-level coordination between the two forces.
All Indonesian troops have left East Timor, but many are still based in neighboring western Timor, an Indonesian territory. The peacekeepers and the Indonesian army need to cooperate to facilitate the return of refugees from western Timor, Cosgrove said.
Four More Falun Gong Members Charged
BEIJING--Prosecutors in southern China said they have filed criminal charges against four members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, stepping up a three-month government crackdown against the group.
The state-run China Women's News said prosecutors charged Song Yuesheng, Jiang Shilong, Chen Yuan and Liang Yulin with organizing a gathering by 183 Falun Gong members on Aug. 8 in southern Hainan province. The charges were filed Monday, two days after Chinese legislators approved new regulations to tighten laws against groups like Falun Gong that the government views as dangerous cults.
Argentine Leader Rejects Judge's Charges
BUENOS AIRES--President Carlos Menem vehemently rejected a Spanish magistrate's attempt to prosecute former junta leaders who tortured and killed leftists and dissidents during the country's 1970s military dictatorship. Menem defended Argentina's jurisdiction in such cases, disputing the warrants issued Tuesday against 98 former Argentine officers.
The warrants were issued by Judge Baltasar Garzon in Madrid, the same judge who is pursuing former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet in London.
Sudanese Killed at Meeting for Peace
KHARTOUM, Sudan--Rival militiamen massacred 25 Sudanese fighters when they arrived for peace talks in southern Sudan, a spokesman for the United Democratic Salvation Front said. The fighters were killed after they arrived for the talks Sunday in Benitu, said the spokesman, Makuac Teny Youk. They had gone to negotiate peace with Paulino Matep, the leader of a rival, pro-government militia.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Iranian Rebel Camp in Iraq Attacked
BAGHDAD, Iraq--A missile hit a camp of Iranian dissidents in southern Iraq, killing five people and wounding several others, Iraqi authorities and Iranian dissidents said.
The missile struck the Habib camp of the Iranian dissident group the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq early Tuesday near the Iranian border, said Farid Soleimani, an Iraqi-based spokesman for the group. Soleimani blamed the attack on Iran. Mujaheddin-e-Khalq uses Iraq as a springboard for attacks in Iran and has several camps equipped with tanks, heavy guns and helicopter gunships close to Iran's border.
Some Jewish Settlers Leave West Bank
JERUSALEM--Jewish settlers have moved out of a rogue West Bank settlement, the first to be evacuated under a deal struck with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a settler spokesman said. Yehoshua Mor-Yossef, a spokesman for the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements, said two of the four families at the Mitzpeh Hagit site packed up and abandoned the barren West Bank hilltop in the Judean desert Monday.
Algeria Frees Muslim Militants
ALGIERS--Algerian authorities have freed 167 Muslim militants as part of a presidential amnesty for more than 6,000 prisoners, the official Algerian news agency APS reported.
APS, citing an official source, said the amnesty for 6,683 detainees marked the 45th anniversary of the Nov. 1 revolution--the start of Algeria's war of independence against France.
Political sources said the government was trying to clear out the country's crowded prisons before visits by foreign human rights organizations.
Mitchell Hopes to Restart N. Ireland Talks
LONDON--Former U.S. senator George Mitchell said he hoped to restart Northern Ireland's troubled peace process as soon as possible, but he offered no hope of an imminent breakthrough.
"I have made no secret of the fact that I would like to complete this as soon as possible," Mitchell told reporters after briefing Prime Minister Tony Blair on his push to break the deadlock. Mitchell broke off from nine weeks of painstaking diplomacy in Belfast to travel to Dublin on Tuesday to discuss tactics with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern before going to Washington, where he briefed President Clinton.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"START I will be dead, all mutual exchanges of information will be ended, hundreds of verification missions that both sides carry out on a reciprocal basis will be discontinued."
-- Russian Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, warning the United States about the repercussions if it builds a missile-defense system. --Page A25