Red Cross Mounts

Major Airlift to Darfur

EL FASHER, Sudan -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday that it was mounting a major airlift of relief supplies to Sudan's troubled Darfur region, its largest such operation since the war in Iraq.

Sudan's interior minister, meanwhile, said a cease-fire with rebel factions in Darfur was violated twice on the opening day of peace talks.

The United Nations has called the situation in Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis. More than 50,000 people have been killed and more than 1.4 million forced to flee their homes in the 18 months of fighting between African rebel groups and an Arab militia known as the Janjaweed.


* TAIPEI -- Typhoon Aere battered northern Taiwan with howling winds and sheets of rain that grounded flights, shut down financial markets and triggered mudslides on the densely populated island. Five fishermen drowned in rough seas.

The typhoon appeared ready to whirl over Taiwan for another day before heading west to China, so officials in the capital, Taipei, called off school and closed the stock market for a second consecutive day today.

* TOKYO -- Japan's Justice Ministry rejected former chess champion Bobby Fischer's request for political asylum and issued an order to deport him to the United States.

Fischer's spokesman in Tokyo immediately issued a statement saying his attorneys had already filed an appeal. But the statement added that the New York City native had been informed by Japanese officials that he is likely to have to return to the United States.

Fischer is wanted in the United States for violating international sanctions in 1992 by playing a chess match in Yugoslavia. Fischer was detained by Japanese authorities on July 13 for traveling with an invalid U.S. passport. The noted eccentric has tried to secure his freedom by adopting German citizenship and by announcing plans to marry a Japanese citizen. Fischer says the charges against him are politically motivated in part because he hailed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States on a Philippine radio station.

-- Anthony Faiola

the middle east

* JERUSALEM -- Hoping to avoid sanctions, Israel's attorney general wants the government to consider applying to Palestinians the fourth Geneva Convention safeguarding the treatment of occupied people, a Justice Ministry spokesman said.

Israel has said the Geneva Conventions' clauses on occupation do not apply because Jordanian and Egyptian control over the West Bank and Gaza before 1967 was not internationally recognized.

The development was another sign of Israeli disquiet about the risk of international sanctions following a World Court decision in July that declared illegal the West Bank barrier built across Palestinian farmland.

The Americas

* SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Police said they had seized a load of uranium and thorium ore taken from a secret mine in the jungle in northern Brazil and destined for sale on the black market.

Based on a lead from an informant, federal police seized 1,320 pounds of ore containing the radioactive metals in a pickup truck about 75 miles from Macapa, capital of Amapa state, near the mouth of the Amazon River.


* OSLO, Norway -- A Norwegian magazine offered $14,800 for information leading to the return of two priceless Edvard Munch masterpieces stolen from an Oslo museum over the weekend.

The offer was made by the weekly magazine Se og Hoer. The city of Oslo said it was too early to consider offering a reward.

On Sunday three masked robbers, including at least one with a pistol, snatched "The Scream" and "Madonna" and fled in a stolen car as stunned visitors looked on. The museum had alarms, surveillance cameras and unarmed guards, but there was little anyone could do to stop the robbers.

-- From News Services