Taliban edict to raze statues is criticized by Western...

FOREIGN DIGEST

March 01, 2001

Taliban edict to raze statues is criticized by Western leaders

WASHINGTON - The United States and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday criticized an order by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement to destroy all statues in the country.

The Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, issued an edict saying statues must be destroyed because they were "used as idols and deities by non-believers," news agencies reported.

The edict will include the world's tallest standing Buddha, a 174-foot-tall figure carved into a cliff face at Bamiyan near the capital, Kabul.

Laurent Kabila's aide suspect in assassination

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - A key aide to assassinated Congolese President Laurent Kabila is under house arrest in Kinshasa on suspicion of involvement in his killing in January, military sources said yesterday.

Edy Kapend, the late president's aide-de-camp, had been placed under armed guard in a military camp in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gen. Nawej Yav, commander of the Kinshasa military region and a close associate of Kapend, had also been arrested and both were being investigated for their alleged role in Kabila's assassination, the sources added. No official confirmation of the arrests was available.

Pope marks beginning of Lenten season

ROME - Pope John Paul II yesterday led the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics into the penitential season of Lent.

The frail 80-year-old pope, who looked very tired, rubbed ashes on the heads of members of the faithful at an Ash Wednesday service in Rome's Santa Sabina basilica.

During Lent, a 40-day period leading up to Easter, Christians are called on to fast, do penance and give alms to the needy.

New EU rules require large cigarette warnings

BRUSSELS, Belgium - New rules on marketing tobacco products in European Union states will mean all cigarettes sold in the European Union from the start of 2003 must have a health warning covering 30 percent of the packet saying "smoking kills," "smoking can kill" or "smoking severely harms you and those around you."

Authorities adopted a new anti-smoking law yesterday that also bans potentially misleading terms calling cigarettes "mild" and "light."

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