- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2000

U.S. threatens force against Iraq

NEW YORK The United States warned Iraq yesterday it stood ready to use military force if Baghdad threatens its neighbors, after Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing its oil and an Iraqi jet violated Saudi air space.

"We do have a credible force in the region and are prepared to use it in an appropriate way at a time of our choosing," Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright told a news conference.

She said the U.S. military option came into play "if there are attacks or provocations against the Kurds in the north, if there are threats against the neighbors and against our forces or a reconstitution of the weapons of mass destruction."

U.N. seeks Clerides' return

NEW YORK The U.N. secretary-general's special adviser on Cyprus had talks with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides yesterday, the day after Mr. Clerides boycotted U.N. "proximity talks" aimed at reuniting his divided island, a Cypriot spokeswoman said.

At about the same time, the U.S. presidential emissary for Cyprus, Alfred Moses, met Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulides. But there was no word whether Mr. Clerides had been persuaded to return to the U.N. talks.

Mr. Clerides is upset over a statement that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan read separately to him and to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash at the start of the latest round of indirect talks on Tuesday. The Greek Cypriots interpreted it as tilting toward the Turkish Cypriot side.

Indians topple power line pylons

CARACAS, Venezuela Indians in Venezuela's remote Amazon region have knocked down seven electricity pylons in renewed protest against a high-voltage power line to Brazil being built through their ancestral homeland, a spokesman for the local Indigenous Federation said yesterday.

Indigenous leaders said construction of the 470-mile link was ruining their livelihood and affecting a fragile ecosystem across tracts of national parks and Amazonian forests.

West Nile virus claims Israeli victims

JERUSALEM Anxiety in Israel was growing yesterday after the West Nile virus killed an eighth victim this summer, and hospital emergency rooms were crowded with people who feared they had contracted the mosquito-borne disease.

In two dozen towns in Israel's hardest-hit coastal plain, residents closed their windows this week as machines belched forth clouds of insecticide mixed with diesel oil to wipe out the mosquitoes.

There was little chance the outbreaks in New York and Israel were connected, officials said. The virus probably was brought to Israel by wild birds migrating from Europe to Africa, said Dr. Alex Leventhal, the Health Ministry's director of public health.

Colombia honors Juan Valdez

BOGOTA, Colombia Colombia has awarded the national symbol of its coffee, fictional farmer Juan Valdez, a medal on his 40th birthday at a ceremony in the presidential palace.

His trusty mule Lana had to remain outside when actor Carlos Sanchez, standing in for Mr. Valdez, accepted the silver cross for national merit late Wednesday from President Andres Pastrana.

Mr. Valdez, the fictional spokesman for Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers who carries a machete and wears a poncho and sombrero, was created 40 years ago and has become a globally recognized symbol.

ANC pushes Mbeki on HIV-AIDS link

JOHANNEBSURG An internal committee of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has urged President Thabo Mbeki to acknowledge that the HIV virus causes AIDS, newspapers said yesterday.

South Africa's Independent Group newspapers reported that the appeal to Mr. Mbeki, who so far has refused to acknowledge the link, was contained in a confidential document leaked to the Cape Times newspaper in Cape Town.

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