- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004

UNITED NATIONS

Fearing flu pandemic, WHO calls summit

The World Health Organization has called an unprecedented summit next week of flu-vaccine makers and nations to expand plans for dealing with the growing threat of a flu pandemic.

Sixteen vaccine companies and health officials from the United States and other large countries already have agreed to attend the summit in Geneva on Nov. 11, said Klaus Stohr, influenza chief of the United Nations’ health agency.

“We believe that we are closer to the next pandemic than we ever were,” Mr. Stohr said yesterday before a speech at an American Society for Microbiology meeting.

FRANCE

Arafat reads letters, calls colleagues

PARIS — Yasser Arafat telephoned colleagues in the West Bank, read telegrams from well-wishing world leaders, ate cereal and sipped tea yesterday, his aides said — signs that the Palestinian leader’s health may be on the upswing.

There was still no explanation of the illness that prompted three days of urgent treatment at a French military hospital.

Doctors are now running tests to determine whether Mr. Arafat is suffering from a viral infection, poisoning or some other malady, Palestinian aides said on the condition of anonymity.

CHINA

Foreign-policy maven slams Bush doctrine

BEIJING — On the eve of the U.S. election, China criticized the “Bush doctrine” of pre-emptive strikes, said the Iraq war has destroyed the global anti-terror coalition and blamed arrogance for problems dogging the United States around the world.

In a strongly worded commentary, Qian Qichen, one of the main architects of China’s foreign policy, said the United States was dreaming if it thought the 21st century was the “American century.”

“The Iraq war has … destroyed the hard-won global anti-terror coalition,” Mr. Qian said an article in the English-language China Daily newspaper. It “has made the United States even more unpopular in the international community than its war in Vietnam.”

LIBERIA

Disarmament period ends with arrests

MONROVIA — U.N. troops arrested dozens of men yesterday at the conclusion of a countrywide disarmament program, days after a fresh burst of violence in the West African nation.

About 80 men and boys lay on the ground surrounded by U.N. Ghanaian and Nigerian peacekeepers after one of several U.N. raids.

URUGUAY

Leftist claims victoryin presidential race

MONTEVIDEO — Leftist candidate Tabare Vazquez claimed victory in a presidential election yesterday, while his closest challenger conceded and ruled out the possibility of a runoff.

No official results were available last night, but exit polls and projections gave the 64-year-old doctor between 50.9 percent and 53 percent of the vote, more than the 50 percent-plus-one vote needed to win in first-round balloting.

“Tomorrow morning, we will begin to work on the political transition because there is no time to lose,” said Mr. Vazquez, who will become Uruguay’s first leftist president.

MALAYSIA

Dissident kicks off political comeback

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s most charismatic dissident, Anwar Ibrahim, released from jail two months ago, kicked off his political comeback yesterday, vowing to restart a campaign for democratic reforms and racial equality.

The former deputy prime minister also extended an olive branch to his government foes, saying he wanted “to reduce rancorous exchanges in our politics of enmity.”

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