JERUSALEM

Sharon: Arafat possible assassination target

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his pledge to the
United States not to harm Yasser Arafat no longer holds, declaring
that the Palestinian leader and the head of Lebanon’s
Hezbollah are potential targets for assassination.

In an interview set for broadcast today by Israeli Army Radio,
Sharon also said for the first time that under his plan to leave
the Gaza Strip, evacuated Jewish settlements would not be
destroyed.

Sharon said three years ago he promised President Bush that
Israel would not harm Arafat, but since then circumstances had
changed.

“Arafat was (then) given red carpet treatment everywhere
in the world. Today it is clear to the United States and to
everyone just who Arafat is,” Sharon said. Israel and the
United States are boycotting Arafat, charging that he is
responsible for Palestinian violence.

On March 22, Israel assassinated Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder and
leader of the violent Islamic Hamas movement, and officials said
Israeli forces would mete out similar treatment to others involved
in the group or execution of attacks on Israel.

 

WINDSOR, Ontario

Windsor casino shuts down; strike looms

A labor dispute shut down Casino Windsor for a third day
yesterday, diverting many would-be bettors to the three gambling
halls across the river in Detroit.

Casino Windsor management shut down operations at Friday night
ahead of a threatened strike by 3,600 members of Canadian Auto
Workers Local 444. Workers hit the picket lines starting Saturday
morning.

Casino Windsor lawyer George King said management would not
resume negotiations unless it knew the union would make
concessions.

“Just because there are a lot demands on the table
doesn’t mean that we have to sit there and continue to give
and give and give things that we don’t think we need to give,
and we don’t want to give and we shouldn’t give,”
King said.

Negotiations broke off March 28.

Union spokesman Bruce Browning said the casino’s offer of
88-cent raises over three years was a slap in the face.

“We’re here everyday, we put a hard day’s work
in, we expect to get the respect that we deserve, and they’re
asking for concessions,” Browning said.

 

MADRID, Spain

Lead suspect in Spain attacks kills himself

The suicide apartment house blast that killed the alleged
ringleader of last month’s Madrid train bombings and four
other terror suspects left the core of the terror group either dead
or in jail, Spain’s interior minister said yesterday.

Explosives discovered in the building where the five killed
themselves to avoid capture Saturday night indicated they were
plotting more violence and were linked to the failed bombing of a
high-speed rail line Friday.

Two or three suspects may have escaped before the blast, which
also killed a special forces officer and wounded 15 other
policeman, Interior Minister Angel Acebes told a news
conference.

Preliminary forensic tests on human remains in and around the
apartment showed five suspects died in the blast, one more than
previously reported, an Interior Ministry official said
yesterday.

 

LONDON

Official: Bush focused on Iraq just after 9-11

President Bush made clear at a dinner with Prime Minister Tony
Blair nine days after the Sept. 11 attacks that he wanted to
confront Iraq, the former British ambassador to the United States
reportedly told a magazine.

The president raised Iraq at a White House meeting on Sept. 20,
2001, Christopher Meyer, the former envoy, told Vanity Fair.
“Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a
pretext to attack Iraq,” Meyer, who attended the dinner,
reportedly said. “On the one hand, Blair came with a very
strong message — don’t get distracted; the priorities
were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban.”

“Bush said, ‘I agree with you, Tony. We must deal
with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must
come back to Iraq,’ ” Meyer said, according to Vanity
Fair.

 

NEW YORK

Judge ponders Tyco mistrial, jury issues

With six months of work undone by a mistrial, state Supreme
Court Justice Michael Obus considered the future of the legal
system.

He had watched, unable to do anything, as two newspapers
published the identity of a juror in the Tyco corporate corruption
trial, and as the juror was trashed in one newspaper story as a
“batty blueblood” and was denigrated in Internet chat
rooms.

“I’m concerned about what effect this may have on
jury selection in the future, and jury service in the
future,” the judge said in court Friday just before he
declared the mistrial.

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