- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

IRAQ

Kurds warn of war for Kirkuk

BAGHDAD — The leader of Iraq’s Kurdish region warned yesterday of a “real civil war” if the central government does not implement a constitutional clause on the future of Kirkuk, the oil-rich city claimed by the Kurds.

Control over the city and the surrounding oil wealth is in dispute. Kurds are trying to annex the region, but Iraq’s Arab majority and a Turkish minority living in Kirkuk oppose that move.

Massoud Barzani, in an interview with U.S.-funded al Hurra television, complained that the Baghdad government was delaying a promised referendum that could put Kirkuk under control of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

NEW ZEALAND

Marijuana damage compared to tobacco’s

WELLINGTON — A single marijuana cigarette obstructs the flow of air as much as smoking up to five tobacco cigarettes, but long-term pot use does not increase the risk of developing emphysema, new research suggests.

The study by New Zealand’s Medical Research Institute found that longtime pot smokers can develop symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, along with obstruction of the large airways and excessive lung inflation. The paper was released yesterday ahead of its publication in the journal Thorax.

“The study shows that one cannabis joint causes a similar degree of lung damage as between 2.5 and five tobacco cigarettes,” said lead author Sarah Aldington.

ITALY

Film director Antonioni dies

ROME — Michelangelo Antonioni, one of Italy’s most influential postwar film directors whose portrayals of modern angst and alienation won him a cult following, died Monday night. He was 94.

Mr. Antonioni’s career spanned six decades and he was honored with an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1995. His works included the Oscar-nominated “Blow-Up,” “Zabriskie Point” and the internationally acclaimed “L’Avventura.”

Mr. Antonioni, who had been slowed by a stroke in recent years, passed away just hours after the death of fellow film directing legend Ingmar Bergman of Sweden, who died Monday at 89.

SPAIN

Tourists evacuated ahead of forest fires

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE — More than 11,000 people were forced to evacuate yesterday in the Canary Islands as firefighters struggled to extinguish fires on two of the archipelago’s popular tourist islands.

About 6,000 people were evacuated from homes on Tenerife, where fires have burned 11,000 acres of forest on the western part of the island since Monday, said Paulino Rivero, president of the Canary Islands regional government.

SRI LANKA

Villagers flee Tamil Tiger attacks

VAVUNIYA — Hundreds of ethnic Sinhalese civilians fled three villages in northern Sri Lanka yesterday, claiming the government had failed to protect them from attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels, locals said.

About 350 men, women and children fled the small villages in Vavuniya district and sought shelter at a school, village head G. Premasiri said.

Vavuniya is an ethnic Tamil-majority district in northern Sri Lanka, and many Sinhalese villages are in its southern parts.

From wire dispatches and staff reports