- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2000

U.N. mine workers killed by gunmen

KABUL, Afghanistan Gunmen shot and killed 12 persons, including seven Afghans working for the United Nations' mine-clearing agency, in western Herat province, an aid worker said yesterday.
The aid workers, all employees of the Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation, were killed near Kotal-e-Subzak early Saturday on the road between Badghis province and Herat, said an official of the organization.
Five other victims were local Afghans, said the official, Mohibullah, who like most Afghans uses just one name. The gunmen later set the victims' bodies on fire, he said.
Officials of the Taleban militia that controls 90 percent of Afghanistan and the opposition traded accusations over who carried out the killings.

Serbia's opposition nominates candidate

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia Serbia's largest opposition party yesterday nominated its own candidate to oppose Slobodan Milosevic in September elections, ignoring appeals to rally behind a common standard-bearer and bolstering chances the autocratic president will hold onto power.

The Serbian Renewal Movement nominated Belgrade's opposition mayor, Vojislav Mihailovic, to run for president of Yugoslavia. The movement had previously said it would boycott the Sept. 24 presidential and local elections.

The country's other opposition groups have said they will support a common candidate to oust Mr. Milosevic, and the decision by the larger Serbian Renewal Movement will likely mean a split opposition vote and possibly victory for Mr. Milosevic.

Venezuela's Chavez to visit Saddam

CARACAS, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez took off yesterday for a tour of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that will include the first visit by a foreign head of state to Iraq since the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the imposition of U.N. sanctions against Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and in the decade since not a single foreign leader has called on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in his home territory.
Mr. Chavez's planned Aug. 10 visit to Iraq appears linked to his desire to persuade poor nations to band together as a counterweight to what he sees as U.S. hegemony.

Defecting Cubans bound for Miami

Two Cuban defectors who were imprisoned for more than a month in Zimbabwe will leave Sweden today for the United States, where they have been granted asylum, a U.S. lawmaker said yesterday.

Leonel Cordova Rodriguez, 31, and Noris Pena Martinez, 25, planned to hold a news conference tomorrow afternoon in Miami, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, said in a statement.

The two doctors, who defected from Cuba during a medical mission to Zimbabwe, were allowed to travel to Sweden in June as a result of international pressure.

Arafat meets Gadhafi on Mideast peace

TUNIS, Tunisia Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat held talks yesterday with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as part of efforts to drum up support for his stance in peace talks with Israel.
Mr. Arafat has said he will declare a Palestinian state by Sept. 13 even if there is no peace deal with Israel.

Girls are more likely with vegetarian moms

LONDON Vegetarian mothers are more likely to give birth to girls, Britain's Times newspaper reported today, citing new research that examines the impact of diet on the gender of offspring.
The study, conducted at Nottingham University, found that while the national average in Britain is 106 boys born to every 100 girls, for vegetarian mothers the ratio was just 85 boys to 100 girls.
"It appears that vegetarians are more likely to have girls than boys," said researcher Pauline Hudson, according to the Times.

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