Writer criticizes Bush at peace award ceremony

Sunday, October 12, 2003

FRANKFURT, Germany -- New York-born author and human rights activist Susan Sontag on Saturday criticized President Bush's policies as imperialistic and a break with 50 years of U.S. foreign policy tradition.

Sontag, 70, spoke to reporters a day before receiving the German book trade's prestigious $17,700 Peace Prize.

"I think as long as the USA has only one political party -- the Republican Party, a branch of which calls itself the Democratic Party -- we aren't going to see a change of the current policy," she said.

Sontag said Bush's policy breaks with America's tradition of consulting with allies on global matters instead of acting alone. She was referring to the Bush administration decision to go to war against Iraq without U.N. backing. 7 "It's really the end of the republic and the beginning of the empire," she said, referring to ancient Rome.

Sontag also had harsh words for California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying his election showed that traditional politics are disappearing.

More candidates killed before Colombia elections

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Suspected leftist guerrillas gunned down two candidates in Colombia's upcoming state and mayoral elections after a campaign meeting in a lawless southwestern province, authorities said.

Police found the bodies of Jairo Gomez, a mayoral contender in the city of Genova, and Julio Cesar Castennanos, who was running for city council, lying in a ditch early Saturday, said Uriel Torres, a police spokesman for the Quindio region.

The two went missing after a campaign stop in a rural area outside Genova late Friday, Torres said. He blamed the attack on Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which is bent on undermining the Oct. 26 vote.

Lebanese woman gives birth to sextuplets

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- A Lebanese woman gave birth Saturday to sextuplets -- four girls and two boys, hospital officials said. All appeared to be in good health.

Doctors delivered the babies by Caesarean section 30 weeks into Soumaya Ghosson's pregnancy, officials at the suburban Al-Hayat Hospital said.

The babies and mother are "doing fine," one hospital official said on condition of anonymity.

The babies weigh between 1.1 pounds and 2.4 pounds. The girls were named Batool, Mariyam, Aya and Hitaf, while the boys were called Ali and Abdelrahman, hospital officials said.

The parents were not available for comment.

-- From wire reports

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