- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2003

BRITAIN

Galloway documents called forgeries

LONDON — British legislator George Galloway, accused of being in the pay of Saddam Hussein, demanded an official inquiry after a U.S. newspaper admitted that documents detailing the assertion were almost certainly forged.

Mr. Galloway, a lawmaker from Britain’s ruling Labor Party said it is clear he was the victim of a conspiracy about widespread charges that he took millions of dollars from the deposed Iraqi regime to promote its interests in the West.

Mr. Galloway demanded that British Prime Minister Tony Blair look into the matter.

SWITZERLAND

Number of refugees worldwide decreases

GENEVA — About 10.3 million people worldwide were officially classified as refugees at the beginning of this year, a decrease of 14 percent from last year, the United Nations said yesterday, World Refugee Day.

The drop mostly resulted from the almost 2 million Afghans who returned to their country, three-quarters of them from Pakistan and the rest from Iran, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said at its Geneva headquarters.

Overall, 2.4 million people were repatriated in 2002.

Asia continued to house most of the world’s refugees, with 4.2 million, followed by Africa (3.3 million) and Europe (2.2 million).

NEW ZEALAND

Government willing to tax anything

WELLINGTON — New Zealand’s farmers are being asked to pay $4.9 million a year to help reduce greenhouse effects caused by flatulence of their millions of sheep and cattle, and they say the plan stinks.

The government plans to introduce a tax to help pay for research into livestock emissions of methane and nitrous oxide.

On current livestock numbers of about 46 million sheep and 9 million cows, the levy will cost farmers about 9 cents per sheep per year and about 72 cents per cow.

CHILE

Powerful earthquake rattles Coquimbo

SANTIAGO — A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 rattled Chile yesterday, causing widespread panic, blackouts and evacuations of schools, according to preliminary reports by authorities.

There were no reports of injuries, deaths or major damage an hour after the tremor.

The epicenter of the quake, which hit at 9:31 a.m. was 40 miles south of Coquimbo.

NEPAL

Thousands demonstrate against king

KATMANDU — About 15,000 Nepalese took to the streets of Katmandu yesterday to denounce King Gyanendra in twin demonstrations organized by the country’s main political parties and by supporters of Maoist rebels.

In the larger demonstration, 9,000 supporters of the Maoists — mostly activists from student and women’s groups, and trade unions — held up traffic in the heart of the capital for more than three hours as they accused the king of scuttling progress in peace talks.

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