- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2004

CHINA

Main parties disagree as Korea talks resume

BEIJING — North Korea and the United States clashed yesterday over how to end Pyongyang’s nuclear programs as a new round of regional talks got under way.

Reclusive Pyongyang held out the prospect of a “road map” for freezing or dismantling its nuclear program if the United States and others said what they would give in return, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

But the United States rejected the offer, saying the communist state first must come up with a detailed plan for a freeze leading to eventual nuclear dismantlement, South Korean officials said.

VATICAN CITY

Pope criticizes Spanish government

Pope John Paul II yesterday renewed his criticism of plans by Spain’s new socialist government to allow easier abortion and permit same-sex “marriages,” in a meeting with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

“A few days ago while receiving your new ambassador, I had the opportunity to discuss some aspects of Spanish society. I am reiterating what I said on that occasion while thanking you for your kind visit,” the 84-year-old pontiff told the Spanish prime minister in a 13-minute meeting.

“I sincerely hope that your personal commitment, and that of your government, to develop Spain will succeed and that in this task, you will take into account the ethical values rooted in the religious and cultural traditions of the population,” said the pope.

RUSSIA

Well-armed attackers strike near Chechnya

VLADIKAVKAZ — Assailants armed with grenade and rocket launchers seized the Interior Ministry headquarters in Ingushetia, a Russian region bordering war-torn Chechnya, a ministry official said yesterday.

Fighting from the 4-year-old Chechen separatist war occasionally has spilled into the province, highlighting the Russian military’s ineffectiveness against the rebels despite having heavier weapons and far superior manpower.

TURKEY

Iraqi Kurds warned over disputed city

ANKARA — Turkey expressed concern yesterday over ethnic and political divisions in neighboring Iraq and said it could not stand by quietly if Kurds took control of the major northern oil hub of Kirkuk.

Ethnic tensions have risen in Kirkuk, a city of 750,000, as political groups jostle for advantage ahead of the planned June 30 transfer of power in Iraq.

Turkey fears Kurdish domination of Kirkuk and its energy resources will boost prospects for Kurdish autonomy and perhaps even independence, which in turn could reignite separatism among Ankara’s own Kurds in southeastern Turkey.

SPAIN

Destitute migrants land at nudist beach

MADRID — A raft carrying 42 destitute Africans — bundled up for a chilly, wind-swept crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar — washed up on a nudist beach in southern Spain, officials said yesterday.

Spanish television broadcast amateur video footage of surprised bathers at the Sunday landing at sun-splashed Canos de Meca beach in Cadiz province.

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