- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

U.N. withdraws foreign-aid workers

NEW YORK The United Nations said yesterday it had withdrawn foreign-aid workers from Afghanistan, fearing a backlash when the U.N. Security Council imposes new sanctions against the ruling Taleban movement.

"We have drawn down our international staff in Afghanistan," U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said. She would not say how many of the approximately 50 foreign U.N. staffers stationed there were being pulled out.

Western sources said over the weekend in the Afghan capital, Kabul, that most foreign-relief agencies had withdrawn staff from the city, apprehensive that violence could erupt once fresh embargoes were imposed.

Livestock slaughtered over 'mad elk' disease

CALGARY, Alberta About 1,500 domesticated elk on ranches in western Canada have been slaughtered to stop the spread of an illness closely related to the "mad cow" disease afflicting livestock in Europe, officials said yesterday.

The elk, from half a dozen farms in the province of Saskatchewan, were killed over the past six months after 14 were found to be infected with the debilitating illness called chronic wasting disease. It has been dubbed "mad elk" disease.

Target practice takes aim at black leaders

JOHANNESBURG South African soldiers refused orders to fire at targets covered in pictures of President Thabo Mbeki and other black government officials, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota ordered an investigation into the incident, which comes amid criticism that the country's armed forces remain riddled with racism against blacks, the Sowetan Sunday World reported.

The newspaper reported that an instructor at a military shooting range in Pretoria ordered members of the South African National Defense Force's National Ceremonial Guard to shoot the targets depicting black leaders on Dec. 12. The soldiers said they were enraged and refused to shoot.

Haitian sports reporter shot to death

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti A sports journalist was shot to death as he got out of a taxi in a run-down area of the Haitian capital, the U.S. Embassy and his employers said yesterday.

Gerard Denoze, who covered sports for Radio Plus, was shot by two young men after he paid his cab fare in the Carrefour area on Friday afternoon, embassy officials said.

The death of Mr. Denoze, 34, was the second slaying of a journalist in Haiti this year. On April 3, Jean Leopold Dominique, a radio commentator who spoke on behalf of Haiti's poor and was an adviser to President Rene Preval, was fatally shot as he went to his station for his morning broadcast.

Court sentences papal assailant

ISTANBUL A Turkish court yesterday sentenced Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to kill the pope, to seven years in jail for two robberies in the 1970s.

Agca will have the new sentence added to the nine years he has left on a sentence he is serving in Istanbul's high-security Kartal prison for the 1979 killing of journalist Abdi Ipekci.

Agca was returned to Turkey in June after a pardon from Italy, where he served 19 years for shooting Pope John Paul II.

Fourteen Rwandans sentenced to life

KIGALI, Rwanda A court in Rwanda has sentenced 14 persons to life in prison for taking part in the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 people, the prosecutor's office said yesterday.

The suspects were convicted and sentenced on Friday in the central Rwandan town of Gitarama, Attorney General Gerald Gahima said. Two persons were acquitted, state-run Radio Rwanda reported.

Prosecutors charged they participated in the killings of minority Tutsis in the Taba commune under orders of former Mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu. Akayesu, a Hutu, is appealing a life sentence after his conviction on charges of genocide and related crimes by a U.N. tribunal in Tanzania.

Bomb is defused at Duomo landmark

MILAN, Italy A worker at Milan's landmark Duomo cathedral found a time bomb yesterday near a gargoyle on a popular rooftop terrace spotting it 15 hours before it was set to go off.

Authorities evacuated 130 tourists from the roof and closed the piazza surrounding the spired 13th-century Gothic cathedral while police removed the two-pound bomb, Police Chief Giovanni Finazzo said.

Milan's archbishop, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, said the bomb attempt at the Duomo, the largest cathedral in Italy, was "a grave and irresponsible act."

Toll nears 200 dead of Guinea yellow fever

CONAKRY, Guinea Nearly 200 people have died in an outbreak of yellow fever in Guinea, Health Ministry officials said yesterday, adding they feared the epidemic soon would reach the capital.

More than 20,000 people had been infected since the outbreak was first discovered in early November in the central Mamou regions, they said. It had now spread to 14 other prefectures, with some cases just 30 miles north of Conakry.

"We fear this epidemic could reach the capital soon," one health official said.

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