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Clean Cash
When Irish police tackled a possible I.R.A. money laundering operation last week, they had no idea that their suspects had been taking things so literally. But the raids in Cork and Dublin yielded dirty money — millions of British pounds stashed in compost bins — and wads of euros stuffed into a box of detergent.

Authorities suspect that the recovered cash may be connected to the theft of $50 million from a Belfast bank in December — a robbery that officials blamed on the I.R.A., and that helped to kill the latest round of peace talks. $95,000 of that stolen cash has turned up — inside a police sports club in Belfast. Red-faced police there said the cash had been planted by the I.R.A. to distract from the damaging raids in the Irish Republic.
Sinn Fein denies criminal ties. But a party member was

david hecker/afp-getty images

arrested in the raids and later released without charge. Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, claimed he didn’t know the man. Minutes later, they were shown on TV chatting together at an election event.

After years of nurturing Northern Ireland ‘s peace process by ignoring I.R.A. activity on the margins, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern is out of patience. The peace process is going nowhere, he says, until Sinn Fein becomes a purely political organization. And that means the I.R.A. has to make a clean break from crime. — By Chris Thornton

Bank Order
SWITZERLAND The Supreme Court ordered the return to Nigeria of $458 million in accounts held by late military leader Sani Abacha. The Nigerian government has promised to spend the funds on health, education and infrastructure.

Hard Graft?
TURKEY Former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz appeared in court on corruption charges, the country’s highest-ranking official ever to do so. The three-time PM is accused of rigging the privatization of a state-owned bank in favor of a businessman with alleged ties to the Mafia. He faces a minimum of 10 years in jail if found guilty.

Taking Their Seats
IRAQ The Shi’ite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance was declared the winner of the Jan. 30 election with 48% of the vote, gaining 140 of 275 seats in the new National Assembly. The Kurdish Alliance came second with 26%, followed by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s party with 14%.

Assessing Insecurity
SOMALIA An explosion in Mogadishu left at least two people dead and six injured. The bomb went off as an African Union delegation was visiting the capital, where it had been assessing security ahead of a planned peacekeeping mission. Earlier in the week, there had been protests against the inclusion of troops from neighboring countries in the proposed force.

A Loud Retort
THAILAND A car bomb exploded near a hotel in Sungai Kolok, killing at least six people and wounding 40 others. The blast came after a visit to the country’s southern region by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, during which he threatened to use economic sanctions against villages suspected of supporting Islamic militants. Police arrested one suspect.

Route to Peace
PAKISTAN The government reached agreement with India to launch a bus service on April 7 between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, towns on either side of the cease-fire line dividing the disputed region of Kashmir. But Kashmiri militant groups declared their opposition to the service and threatened to disrupt it.

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