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HeadlinesApril 23, 2002

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Annan Names Team to Investigate Israel’s Destruction of the Jenin Refugee Camp

Apr 23, 2002

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has named a team which will investigate Israel’s destruction of the Jenin refugee camp. A former Finnish president will lead the team. It also includes a former U.N. high commissioner for refugees and a former head of the International Red Cross.

Smoke, gunfire and the thud of sound grenades engulfed the area around the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem yesterday. Only hours before the outbreak of gunfire, 17 journalists had their Israeli government press credentials seized by an Israeli army officer in the area. An Israeli helicopter fired missiles at a car in Hebron, killing a local commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and his bodyguard. Crowds took to the streets of Hebron calling for revenge, after the men’s charred bodies were pulled from the burning wreckage.

Meanwhile, the head of Palestinian Preventive Security, Jibril Rajoub, said outside his destroyed headquarters today, “I don’t think it’s possible for us after this sea of blood to talk about security coordination or any kind of coordination with Israel. It’s over,” he said, adding, “Israel will never have security in the Occupied Territories.” The Washington Post reports that Rajoub’s comments are significant because Rajoub’s job has been to cooperate with the CIA and Israel’s internal security service to prevent Palestinian groups from sending suicide bombers to attack.

Zacarias Moussaoui Publicly Fires Attorneys and Prays for Destruction of U.S. and Israel

Apr 23, 2002

Zacarias Moussaoui electrified a courtroom in Washington yesterday when he took over what was scheduled to be a routine hearing, publicly firing his lawyers and praying for the destruction of the United States and Israel. The 33-year-old French citizen was being held in jail on September 11 on immigration charges, but authorities accused them of being part of the hijacking conspiracy and faces the death penalty. Moussaoui raised his hand at the start of the hearing, launched into a lengthy speech. He said the U.S. government and the court-appointed attorneys are conspiring to kill him. He also said his current legal team was only interested in “greed, fame and vanity,” and asked for a Muslim lawyer. In the meantime, Moussaoui wants to defend himself. The judge ruled he’s entitled to do so if he passes a mental exam. Moussaoui is being kept for 22 hours a day in a tiny cell with no access to radio, television, music or other prisoners.

Britain Turns Down Requests to Question Kissinger About Operation Condor

Apr 23, 2002

Britain has turned down requests from judges in Spain and France to question former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the Condor Plan, under which Latin America’s military regimes agreed jointly to eradicate their opponents in the late 1970s. The decision signals Britain is siding with the U.S. government, who says all the judges’ questions should be directed to the U.S. State Department.

3 Killed in Western Indian State of Gujarat

Apr 23, 2002

Three more people have been killed in the western Indian state of Gujarat. In the last two days, close to 30 people have been killed, according to police. Ten people died on Sunday alone, when police opened fire on a crowd.

Pope Tells U.S. Cardinals He’s Deeply Grieved over Pedophile Crisis

Apr 23, 2002

Pope John Paul II told U.S. cardinals he’s deeply grieved over the pedophile crisis affecting the Roman Catholic Church. The pope addressed the cardinals during the first session of a two-day meeting to discuss the crisis. He said the church must be confident that “this time of trial will bring a purification of the entire Catholic community.” He also said the “immense spiritual and social good of a vast majority of priests in the U.S. should not be forgotten.” Americans are among the biggest donors to the Vatican, and some in the U.S. have expressed alarm that the scandal may lead to a boycott.

White House Slashes Nearly All Funds Requested by Energy Dept. to Improve Nuclear Security

Apr 23, 2002

The White House slashed nearly all the funds requested by the Energy Department for money to improve the security of nuclear weapons and waste. According to The New York Times, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham sent a letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget requesting close to $4 million to guard radioactive materials. The director passed on to Congress only 7% of that request.

U.S. Oust OPCW Director General

Apr 23, 2002

The U.S. has ousted the director of the global agency charged with ridding the world of chemical weapons. José Bustani, who was unanimously reelected last year as the director general of the 145-nation Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. But after he refused repeated U.S. demands to step down, the State Department dispatched envoys to a number of capitals and threatened to cut off funding to the organization. The U.S. is responsible for nearly a quarter of the agency’s budget. With around half the member organizations abstaining, Bustani was voted out yesterday.

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