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News Briefs

Bush’s APEC Trip Presents Opportunities and Challenges

President Bush intends to tell the leaders of Russia, China and other Asian nations that he supports their anti-terrorism efforts at home, but they must draw a line between legitimate dissent and genuine terrorism, and not trample human rights.

Bush will deliver that message in person when the heads of 21 Pacific Rim economies convene in Shanghai, China, this weekend for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Monday.

The president is scheduled to depart for China on Wednesday morning. He will stop briefly in Sacramento, Calif., to meet with business and labor groups and speak to U.S. troops at Travis Air Force Base.

Although global trade is on the agenda in Shanghai, the war on terrorism is likely to dominate the discussions, turning the usually staid economic summit into a regional war council against Saudi militant Osama bin Laden and his followers.

In the face of the international focus on counterterrorism, many people in Shanghai are hoping to keep trade and economic issues from disappearing altogether.

With a global recession looming, APEC leaders warned that member economies can ill afford to ignore the task of improving trade and economic cooperation.

“Economic growth is a critically important anti-terrorism measure,” said Daniel H. Rosen, a member of the U.S. delegation to APEC. “If anything, there is a greater urgency to take bolder steps to encourage growth.”

South Africa Indicts Madikizela-Mandela for Bank Fraud

PRETORIA, South Africa

Authorities on Monday announced the indictment of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, on charges that she conspired to bilk a local bank out of more than $100,000 in fraudulent loans.

Prosecutors say that Madikizela-Mandela and Eddy Moolman, a former employee of the Saambou Bank, obtained loans in the names of 66 people who were found not to exist. Each ghost employee supposedly belonged to the political party caucus that Madikizela-Mandela chairs, the Women’s League of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Madikizela-Mandela, 67, a member of Parliament for the ANC, said the charges surprised her because she was the one who alerted the bank to the scam. She accused ANC members with whom she has a running feud of orchestrating the criminal charges.

“One can safely conclude that the campaign is being waged within my organization,” she told reporters last weekend when word of the charges leaked to the press.

Foes of Taliban Own an Ugly History

They have been called ethnic cleansers, rapists, thieves and thugs. But in the war against terrorism, the soldiers of the Northern Alliance are being described as something else by the Bush administration: potential friends.

Washington is working cautiously with the alliance to root out Osama bin Laden and toss Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, a group with an atrocious human rights history.

Many Afghans worry that the alliance will eventually reclaim a Kabul it lost to the Taliban and resume its old ways to settle some old scores.

From 1992 to 1995 factions that later formed the Northern Alliance indiscriminately bombed Kabul neighborhoods, killing thousands of people, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

On Feb. 11, 1993, Tajik and Pashtun factions joined forces and went on a murder and rape spree in West Kabul, killing about 100 people and causing countless ethnic Hazara civilians to “disappear,” a Human Rights Watch report said.