World digest 01/15/02

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

U.S. Embassy in Yemen suspends most services

SAN'A, Yemen -- The U.S. Embassy in Yemen suspended most consular services Monday and warned Americans they could be targeted by terrorists, while Yemeni security officials stepped up protection of the compound, saying it received a specific threat.

It was not the first time Americans have faced threats in Yemen, where a terrorist attack on a U.S. warship killed 17 sailors in 2000, but the security measures came as the United States presses Yemen's government to crack down on any militants with al-Qaida links in the country.

A Yemeni security official told The Associated Press that the U.S. Embassy recently received a threat but would not comment further.

Palestinian militia leader killed in explosion

TULKAREM, West Bank -- A Palestinian militia leader who boasted of shooting Israelis was killed when a bomb exploded as he emerged from his West Bank hide-out and walked along a quiet street Monday. Hours later and close by, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli and wounded another in a roadside ambush, security sources said.

No one claimed responsibility for either attack, which pointed to a renewed cycle of retaliatory violence that has marked the conflict in and around Tulkarem since the Palestinian uprising began nearly 16 months ago.

Prague wants Radio Free Europe out of downtown

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The Czech prime minister demanded Monday that the U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty move its headquarters out of downtown Prague because of the risk of terrorist attacks.

"On the side of the Czech Cabinet, the decision has been unequivocally made," Prime Minister Milos Zeman said in an interview with Frekvence 1 radio. "I think it is stupid to offer the terrorist a target in the center of Prague."

Zeman said the U.S. and Czech governments had been negotiating a move for three months and that the station will have to respect any agreement reached by the two governments.

Leader of Australian anti-Asian party resigns

SYDNEY, Australia -- Maverick politician Pauline Hanson, who founded Australia's anti-Asian One Nation Party, resigned as its leader Monday, saying she needed time to concentrate on clearing her name of fraud allegations.

Political analysts had been predicting Hanson's exit after One Nation failed to win any seats in national elections late last year.

Hanson, 47, and former One Nation director David Ettridge have been charged over the allegedly fraudulent registration of the political party in 1997. The pair are due in court in April.

Britain announces effort to fix troubled railways

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair's government announced what it called a major new push to improve the nation's troubled rail system Monday, promising $48.3 billion in public spending by 2010.

The government said it will also need $33 billion in private investment for the effort, which focuses on new projects in London and the rest of densely populated southeastern England.

Train trouble has been front-page news in Britain lately, with a flurry of strikes stalling service and creating a political headache for Blair.

Cambodia destroys last of land mine stockpiles

KAMPONG CHHNANG, Cambodia -- The Cambodian government burned and detonated its last stockpile of anti-personnel land mines Monday as part of the war-ravaged country's efforts at demilitarization.

The ceremony aimed to show the international community that Cambodia is honoring its obligations under a global treaty to ban the use of land mines, the 1997 Ottawa Convention, said Khem Sophoan, director of the Cambodian Mine Action Center.

The mines, behind sandbags, were set on fire by fuse.

-- From wire reports

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