- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2003

POLAND

Voters approve EU membership

WARSAW — Poles celebrated their overwhelming “yes” vote in a weekend referendum on joining the European Union, leaving their communist past behind them to lead up to 10 newcomers into the rich Western bloc next year.

Poland, whose 39 million people outnumber the combined populations of the other nine candidates, was the biggest worry for European leaders who agreed to expand the bloc eastward across the old Cold War divide in May 2004.

Updated partial results showed 75.3 percent voted for EU accession and 24.7 percent against. Turnout at 57.8 percent easily cleared a 50 percent minimum required for the vote to be binding, with 30 percent of the votes counted.

PAKISTAN

Gunmen massacre police on busy street

QUETTA — Two gunmen on motorcycles sprayed a truck full of policemen with machine-gun fire in this Pakistani town near the Afghan border yesterday, killing at least 11 and wounding nine, police said.

Most of the police were members of the minority Shi’ite sect of Islam, a Shi’ite leader in the southwestern town of Quetta said, suggesting the attack may have been the latest by extremist Sunnis.

The policemen were on their way to a training school when they came under attack.

CROATIA

Pope preaches value of families

RIJEKA — Looking fatigued in sweltering heat, Pope John Paul II held up families as the bedrock of society as he celebrated Mass in this tranquil Adriatic seaport.

The 83-year-old pope, outside the Vatican yesterday on a Pentecost for the first time as he continued his 100th foreign pilgrimage, encouraged young Croats to marry and raise families.

SRI LANKA

Tamils offered provisional structure

TOKYO — Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today offered a provisional administrative structure for the island’s Tamil-majority region, a step toward meeting a key demand of rebels for resuming peace talks.

He made the announcement at an aid donors’ meeting in Tokyo. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group is boycotting the meeting because of what it says is a lack of progress in rebuilding war-hit Tamil areas.

Japan offered to extend up to $1 billion in aid to Sri Lanka during the next three years, but said the aid would be linked to progress toward peace with rebels.

TAIWAN

Strong earthquake jolts island

TAIPEI — A strong earthquake struck Taiwan today, triggering rock slides on mountainside highways, though no major damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The magnitude-6.3 tremor was centered at sea 15 miles east of the northeastern coastal town of Ilan, about 70 miles southeast of the capital, Taipei.

The tremor lasted for more than 30 seconds and caused buildings to sway in the capital. Two aftershocks, of magnitudes 3.9 and 4.5, were recorded following the quake.

NORTH KOREA

Japan ferry service suspended in anger

TOKYO — North Korea suspended the only regular ferry service between it and Japan yesterday after Tokyo announced stricter searches and security measures around the ship, suspected of smuggling missile parts to the communist nation.

North Korea’s de facto representative in Japan accused Tokyo of fanning hostility around the passenger ship and creating unsafe conditions for its arrival in Japan.

The Mangyongbong-92 had been due to arrive early today in the northern Japanese port of Niigata, its first visit since a North Korean defector told U.S. lawmakers that most of the imported parts used in North Korea’s missile program were smuggled from Japan.

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