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Iraq

Bahrain blast blamed on propane rattles Navy base

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 25, 2003


MANAMA, Bahrain -- A propane gas tank was ignited by protesters outside the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet base in Bahrain on Monday night, and the resulting explosion shattered nearby windows but injured no one, officials said.

At the Pentagon, a senior military official said protesters ignited the tank about a quarter- to a half-mile from the base.

A Bahraini Interior Ministry official said the 9:45 p.m. blast involved a cooking gas canister placed inside a trash can outside a compound housing mostly Navy personnel.

There was no fire and no sign of demonstrators. "Death to Israel" was scrawled on a wall opposite the compound, but it was unknown how long the graffiti was there.

Experts: Beware of e-mail with Iraq in subject line

ATLANTA -- Computer viruses that a couple of weeks ago promised photos of naked women as an enticement may now claim to have a satellite photo of the war scene in Iraq.

If you get an e-mail that mentions Iraq in the subject line, be doubly cautious. It may contain a computer virus.

Some antiwar activists are using computer viruses as a high-tech protest sign.

Some viruses are being sent as a way to protest or support the war. Other senders couldn't care less about politics and use the mention of Iraq as a way to capture the interest of computer users. It's a way of making sure they will open the e-mail attachment carrying the virus.

The war hasn't spawned new viruses. Instead, the same old viruses are being sent with new subject lines in the e-mail, said Roger Thompson, director of malicious code for antivirus specialist TruSecure in Herndon, Va.

NET HOLDING UP: The Internet is zipping right along, even with the increased traffic caused by the war in Iraq.

Any major event sends people scurrying to news Web sites, but the war hasn't created the same traffic levels that came after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the space shuttle disaster, said Pete Allor, head of information technology and sharing analysis at Internet Security System in Atlanta.

A site that monitors the Internet, Keynote Systems in San Mateo, Calif., found that the Internet was operating normally with only a few exceptions. Those exceptions included two military sites that are available to the public (www.army.mil, www.usmc.mil) and some sites in Europe.

Iraqi refugee exodus has yet to materialize

AL-RUWEISHID, Jordan -- Refugee officials say poverty, fear, ignorance and possibly intimidation are keeping people home, in contrast with the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when some 1.8-million Iraqis fled the country.

"I think everyone's breathing a sigh of relief," said Chris Lom, spokesman for the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration. "On the basis of the last Gulf War, I think everyone's surprised."

Aid officials planned for 600,000 people to flee the country in the initial stages of war, with about half going to Iran and the rest to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.

But five days into the conflict, the only reported refugees are 14 people -- two families -- who fled coalition bombing of Mosul in northern Iraq and headed northwest into Syria on Sunday.

At many border crossings, more traffic is entering Iraq than leaving. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Iraqis have returned from Jordan in recent days, saying they want to help their country repel the invading army.

At 69, 'embedded' reporter is true veteran

SAN FRANCISCO -- A lot about reporter Carl Nolte's latest assignment feels familiar.

He is covering a war in the Persian Gulf for the San Francisco Chronicle, just as he did in 1991, traveling this time with an Army infantry unit in which he once served as a soldier. But that was 46 years ago.

At 69, Nolte may be the oldest journalist to go into combat with U.S. troops in the Middle East.

It's hard to know for certain whether any of the other 600 civilian reporters and photographers on the war's front lines are older. The government says it didn't gather the birth dates of the journalists "embedded" with the troops.

ABC-TV's Ted Koppel, perhaps the most prominent of the experienced reporters traveling with the military, is 63.

Ex-U.S. hostage, wife head for Baghdad

AMMAN, Jordan -- Jeremy Levin, once held hostage in Lebanon by Muslim extremists, is now a Christian peace activist.

Now he hopes to bear witness in Baghdad. Levin, 71, was a CNN television producer when he was held captive by Lebanese militants in 1984-85. Now, he heads a group of Christian Peacemaker Team members, eight Americans and one Briton, who are planning to join 20 fellow antiwar activists already in Baghdad.

His group, including his wife, Sis, 71, received entry visas from the Iraqi Embassy in Amman on Monday and planned to set out for the Iraqi border today.

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