- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2006

POLAND

Roof collapse leaves 66 dead

KATOWICE — Rescuers abandoned hope yesterday of finding survivors beneath the wreckage of an exhibition hall that collapsed, killing 66 persons, and authorities were bringing in heavy equipment to demolish what little remained of the building.

The structure collapsed Saturday afternoon with an estimated 500 people inside. They were attending a pigeon racing exhibition. The last person rescued alive from the building was pulled out less than five hours later.

Rescue crews nonetheless worked through the night, using hand tools to carve through the sheet metal and snarled poles of the collapsed building so as not to risk harming any survivors. A total of 160 persons were injured, authorities said.

IRAN

More talks sought on nuclear standoff

TEHRAN — Iran insisted yesterday the only solution to its nuclear dispute with the West was negotiations rather than referral of its atomic dossier to the U.N. Security Council.

Tehran’s nuclear program, which the United States and other major Western powers fear will be used to make nuclear bombs, will be discussed at a meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany in London today.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki urged the six nations to reconsider plans to hold an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday to discuss sending Iran’s nuclear case to the Security Council.

FINLAND

President re-elected to six-year term

HELSINKI — Finland’s leftist president won another six-year term yesterday after her conservative challenger conceded defeat in a presidential runoff election.

President Tarja Halonen, a former Social Democrat, had nearly 52 percent to Sauli Niinisto’s 48 percent, with all the votes counted.

“It’s back to work on Monday,” said Mrs. Halonen, 62, complimenting Mr. Niinisto on his unexpectedly strong challenge. “The man has lost,” Mr. Niinisto said, kissing her hand.

EL SALVADOR

Thousands mourn former rebel chief

SAN SALVADOR — Tens of thousands of mourners said farewell yesterday to former communist guerrilla chief Schafik Handal, who died last week, in the country’s biggest street gathering in more than 25 years.

Mr. Handal was a senior leader of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, rebel group that fought a series of U.S.-backed governments throughout the 1980s.

Mr. Handal was buried after a crowded Mass at San Salvador’s cathedral. Former Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, head of the Sandinista government in the 1980s, was among the mourners.

HAITI

Aristide ally freed for medical care

PORT-AU-PRINCE — An ailing priest who was a popular ally of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was provisionally released from prison yesterday and allowed to seek medical treatment in the United States.

The Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Roman Catholic priest, left Port-au-Prince and flew to Miami, where he was to be treated for leukemia, said a spokesman for interim President Boniface Alexandre.

His release followed weeks of pressure from U.S. lawmakers and human rights groups to free Father Jean-Juste, who is considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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