- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 10, 2004

SUDAN

U.N. delegation expected in Darfur

KHARTOUM — The U.N. Security Council is to send a delegation to Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region to witness the crisis there firsthand, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail said yesterday.

He did not say when he expected the visit, except that he was informed about it during his trip to New York City last month for the annual U.N. General Assembly opening.

Mr. Ismail added that his government was eager to host the team so that members see for themselves efforts being exerted by the government to address the problem in the region.

About 50,000 people have died in the 20-month conflict between the government and ethnic minority rebels, an estimated 1.4 million displaced from their homes and 200,000 forced to flee to neighboring Chad.

KENYA

Laureate suspects AIDS a weapon

NAIROBI — Wangari Maathai made a typically combative start to her first full day as a Nobel laureate yesterday, defending a recent suggestion that HIV might have been made in a laboratory as a plot against Africans.

The outspoken Kenyan environmentalist became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for aiding the poor with a campaign to plant trees and slow deforestation.

Miss Maathai, rarely reluctant to challenge the status quo or confront the powerful, said her comments in August were intended to promote an inquiring attitude into AIDS among Africans and combat the fatalistic notion that it was a curse from God.

Miss Maathai caused a furor in Kenya when she was quoted in Kenya’s East African Standard daily as calling AIDS a biological weapon devised to destroy black people.

PAKISTAN

2 Chinese engineers kidnapped by gunmen

ISLAMABAD — Two Chinese engineers helping Pakistan build a dam in a tense tribal region were kidnapped early yesterday along with at least one Pakistani security guard, officials said.

The engineers were on their way to Tank in the remote South Waziristan region, where al Qaeda-linked militants are active, when five gunmen ambushed their two vehicles, police and intelligence sources said.

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said law enforcement agencies were chasing the kidnappers and had sealed the area.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman in Islamabad said a Pakistani police security guard also was kidnapped.

CUBA

U.S. says Castro training rebels

The State Department is accusing Cuba of training Colombian rebels and says it is troubled by a large presence of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, is a close ally of Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The department’s view was outlined in response to a press question Friday about Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s comments in an agency interview that Mr. Castro is “causing his own people to suffer greatly” and has become a troublemaker in the neighboring South American countries.

Elaborating Friday night on Mr. Powell’s remarks, a State Department official said that the United States continues to be concerned by Cuba’s support for terrorist organizations in Colombia.

The State Department said the two largest leftist guerrilla organizations there, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, maintain a presence and receive training in Cuba. Both are on the State Department’s list of international terrorist organizations.

NICARAGUA

Quake rocks coast; no injuries reported

MANAGUA — A powerful earthquake rocked Nicaragua’s western coast yesterday, sending residents running from their homes. No major injuries or damage were immediately reported.

The magnitude 6.9 quake struck at 3:26 p.m., and was centered about 50 miles southwest of Managua, the National Earthquake Information Center said.

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