the middle east

Some Settlements May Go

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview published yesterday that Israel would have to remove some settlements to get peace with Palestinians, and called the fall of Saddam Hussein a chance to end the conflict.

Sharon told the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz he was ready to take steps "that are painful for every Jew and for me personally."

"Our whole history is bound up with these places: Bethlehem, Shiloh, Beit El. I know that we will have to part with some of these places," the former general said.

"There will be a parting from places that are connected to the whole course of our history. . . . As a Jew, this agonizes me. But I have decided to make every effort to reach a [peace] settlement."

Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Sharon, said the prime minister was not singling out specific settlements in his remarks. Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians wanted "deeds, not words."


Police Questioned on Escape

ADEN, Yemen -- Yemen is questioning two senior secret police officers after 10 al Qaeda suspects, including two linked to the suicide bombing of the USS Cole, escaped from a Yemeni jail, an official said.

Jamal Badawi, the main suspect arrested after the October 2000 attack, and the others escaped after drilling a hole in a bathroom wall at the high-security prison on Friday.



Voting Tracks Nigeria's Rifts

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Early returns from Nigeria's legislative election confirmed the country's divisive ethnic rivalries but there was less violence than many feared.

President Olusegun Obasanjo fared well in his southwestern Yoruba heartland although his People's Democratic Party was roundly defeated in Lagos, Nigeria's teeming commercial capital. Sketchy reports from around the country indicated that eight to 13 people were killed in election violence.


Somaliland Holds Election

HARGEISA, Somalia -- Somalia's breakaway enclave of Somaliland will elect a president today, hoping a democratic vote will win the self-declared republic international recognition.

The unrecognized but relatively stable northern area declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 after the overthrow of President Mohamed Siad Barre and the disintegration of the central government.



Tokyo Governor Reelected

TOKYO -- The nationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, won a second four-year term yesterday, a victory expected to fuel speculation that the controversial politician may eventually aspire to be prime minister.

"The people are hoping for reform of Japan's old political system starting with Tokyo, and I want to do that fully," Ishihara told his supporters.



The prime minister of Malta, Eddie Fenech Adami, claimed victory in parliamentary elections and said his country will go ahead with European Union membership after decades of neutrality. . . . Authorities searched for as many as 100 people who were reported missing after a ferry capsized in northern Bangladesh.