- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2005

INDONESIA

Tsunami-missing toll in Aceh reduced 60%

JAKARTA — Indonesian officials have slashed by 60 percent their estimate of the number of people missing in Aceh province after the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami by using better data collection.

According to the latest numbers, 37,063 persons are now listed as missing from 93,458 early this week.

The change largely reflects identification of people listed as missing as actually among those displaced when the quake and the tsunami it triggered destroyed their homes, a spokesman for the government’s disaster coordinating operation said today.

JORDAN

King swears in new Cabinet

AMMAN — A new Jordanian Cabinet composed of economic reformers close to King Abdullah II took office yesterday, charged by the monarch with speeding up liberal reforms in response to outside pressure for change.

Abdullah told the ministers their mission was to accelerate reforms that the outgoing Cabinet, led by Faisal al-Fayez, had failed to push through in the previous 18 months.

Adnan Badran, the new prime minister, is a U.S.-educated academic and former minister.

NORTHERN IRELAND

IRA considers call to renounce violence

BELFAST — The Irish Republican Army said yesterday it will consider an appeal by Sinn Fein party chief Gerry Adams to renounce violence, a long-elusive goal in Northern Ireland peacemaking.

The IRA said it received advance notice of Wednesday’s call from Mr. Adams, thought to be an IRA commander, and “will give his appeal due consideration and will respond in due course.”

ITALY

Mugabe attends pope’s funeral despite ban

ROME — President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe defied a European Union travel ban and arrived yesterday in Rome to join world leaders attending Pope John Paul II’s funeral.

Mr. Mugabe, 81, landed in the morning at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport, and there were no signs that authorities had made any attempt to arrest him.

The European Union imposed travel sanctions in 2002.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. troops search helicopter wreckage

DEH KHODA-E-DAD — U. S. soldiers yesterday examined the charred wreckage of a military helicopter that plunged into the Afghan desert, killing at least 16 persons in the deadliest incident for Americans in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

The victims were 13 U.S. service members and three civilians working for the U.S. government, whose nationalities weren’t released.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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