- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

TURKEY

Kurdish rebels declare end to cease-fire

TUNCELI — Kurdish rebels have announced the end of their five-year cease-fire with Turkey because of Ankara’s failure to match the truce, a news agency close to the guerrillas said yesterday.

The PKK rebels, also known as KADEK, began their fight for an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey in 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict, though violence largely subsided after the 1999 capture of rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Renewed fighting could affect relations with neighboring Iraq, as well as for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. But PKK leaders said they did not plan any immediate violent moves.

UNITED KINGDOM

Police arrest pair in deadliest bombing

BELFAST — Two persons were arrested yesterday in connection with the 1998 Omagh bombing, the single worst atrocity in Northern Ireland’s violent history.

Police said a man and woman in south Armagh were taken in for questioning in connection with the bombing of the town of Omagh on a busy market day in 1998 that killed 29 persons, including a woman pregnant with twins, and injured 200.

SWITZERLAND

U.N. health group warns of new viruses

GENEVA — The United Nations health agency urged medical authorities worldwide yesterday to start an influenza vaccination campaign, saying it would help stop confusion in future outbreaks of SARS.

The World Health Organization said that flu symptoms — such as a high temperature — are often confused with those of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. Immunizing people against flu will slash the number of cases of the illness and make it easier for doctors to decide whether someone is suffering from flu or SARS.

IVORY COAST

Court releases ex-junta figure

ABIDJAN — Prosecutors freed a top member of Ivory Coast’s former junta, saying yesterday there was insufficient evidence to hold him in a reputed assassination plot against President Laurent Gbagbo.

Gen. Abdoulaye Coulibaly, No. 3 in the West African nation’s 1999-2000 junta, was arrested last week at Abidjan’s international airport, after arriving from Paris.

Authorities are still holding 18 others, both civilian and military people, in a plot reported to target Mr. Gbagbo and other senior government and military figures.

RUSSIA

Putin sets date for Duma elections

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday confirmed Dec. 7 as the date for parliamentary elections that should measure his grip on power as he prepares to make a bid for a second Kremlin term.

“Let’s get down to it,” Mr. Putin said in televised comments after announcing he had signed a decree setting the date for elections to the State Duma.

Supporters of the 50-year-old president, who is popular for bringing stability to Russia after the zigzags and political tension of the 1990s, dominate the 450-member Duma.

Most analysts say he will consolidate his hold in parliament ensuring a smooth ride back into the Kremlin in March 2004.

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