ASIA

Afghan Troops Fight Suspected Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan government forces clashed with suspected Taliban fighters yesterday near the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official said.

The fighting broke out in a mountainous area in the northern part of Shawali Kot district about 10 miles from Kandahar, said a senior official of the regional government, who asked not to be named. He said that both sides used heavy weapons in the clashes, but he had no details of casualties or the number of fighters involved.

The clash was in the same province where U.S.-led coalition forces launched major attacks last week on a cave complex near the Pakistani border.

Reuters

U.N. Files Charges For Timor Abuses

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The United Nations indicted 32 people, including 15 Indonesian soldiers, on allegations that they tortured and killed East Timorese during the country's bloody split from Indonesia in 1999.

The U.N. Special Crimes Unit accused them of crimes against humanity for taking part in the violence. Four officers and Joao Tavares, the head of a pro-Indonesian umbrella militia group, were among those charged for crimes allegedly committed at the time of a U.N.-sponsored independence referendum in 1999.

"This is the most important [indictment] filed yet," said Eric MacDonald, a prosecutor with the serious crimes unit. "You have the leader of all the militias in East Timor being charged and a military commander indicted. These are not minor offenders."

Associated Press

AFRICA

Evidence Presented

Against Mugabe Critic

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Prosecutors showed a videotape allegedly depicting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe.

The grainy, black-and-white video is the centerpiece of the government's case for treason against Tsvangirai, a harsh critic of Mugabe's rule. Prosecutors have charged Tsvangirai and two senior members of his Movement for Democratic Change with plotting to kill Mugabe to spark a coup.

The defendants deny the charges. All three face a possible death sentence if convicted.

Reuters

THE MIDDLE EAST

Israelis Say Arafat

Must Pay $10 Million

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli court has ordered Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to pay more than $10 million in damages to Israel's main bus company for losses caused by Palestinian suicide bombings, a spokesman said.

Arafat, who has denied Israeli accusations of responsibility for attacks during the 28-month Palestinian uprising, presented no defense in the civil lawsuit, and it was unclear how he could be forced to pay the damage award.

Reuters