And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest footnotes to the American war on terrorism.
Thirteen injured Arab fighters believed to be Al Qaeda members are holed up in a hospital in Kandahar and threatening to blow themselves up if anyone but medical personnel get near them. They were wounded during the siege of the city and went to the hospital just days before the city fell to rebel forces. They apparently managed to get explosives into the hospital, and hospital staff members say they have them tied to their waists. There is a ‘no weapons’ sign at the entrance to the hospital, but officials say it is widely ignored.
The Indonesian government has announced it will wage war on terrorism, saying for the first time that Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network is active in the country. This after a half dozen Christians and three Muslims were killed on Sulawesi Island, one of the few places in Indonesia where Christians form a majority. Christian villages on the island have been terrorized by Muslim holy warriors who arrived there in October. But the U.S. list of nations where Al Qaeda is active does not include Indonesia and there is some skepticism that the Indonesian government is now claiming Al Qaeda to help get the U.S. to relax its current ban on weapons sales to that country.
Congressman Gary Condit will have to pay to get his name on the ballot this year, after falling about 500 signatures short of the 3,000 required to have the state-filing fee waived. Political observers are saying it's a sign of how much his political support has eroded since the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, with whom Condit had a relationship he refuses to describe. Meanwhile, other Democrats in the state's Congressional delegation are split over supporting him, with the new party whip Nancy Pelosi backing him and Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher backing Condit's primary opponent.
The audience at the liberal activist group People for the American Way's annual fund-raising and awards dinner in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night got a couple of surprises. One award went to the veteran rock singer Neil Young who proceeded to say he supported the tough measures the Justice Department has taken in its anti-terror campaign. Another award went to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the bawdy cartoon series South Park, who announced that they were Republicans. "It's true," said Parker, who was wearing a stars and stripes outfit.