- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2000

3 astronauts move into space station

KOROLYOV, Russia One American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts moved into the international space station yesterday, swinging open the doors, flipping on the lights and making "the ship come alive" for years and possibly decades to come.

"It's a great moment for all of us," said the space station's commander, U.S. astronaut Bill Shepherd.

He and his crewmates, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, temporarily christened their ship Alpha after getting permission.

Estrada willing to face a trial

MANILA Philippines President Joseph Estrada, accused of taking bribes from illegal gambling, said yesterday he was willing to face an impeachment trial in the Senate to prove he was innocent.

Mr. Estrada issued the statement after a stream of desertions from his ruling coalition, with Trade Secretary Manuel Roxas leading the way by resigning from the cabinet.

Mr. Roxas is the second minister to leave the administration since the bribery scandal broke out a month ago.

Venezuela warns ships on gulf use

CARACAS, Venezuela The Foreign Ministry said yesterday Venezuela would expel any foreign vessels from the Gulf of Venezuela after the entry of a U.S. Coast Guard boat into the area sparked a diplomatic spat with Washington over the status of the waters.

"Any ship or boat which enters the Gulf of Venezuela, of whatever nationality it might be, North American, Cuban, Argentine, Chinese, German or Colombian, will be ordered to leave these territorial waters," Foreign Minister Jose Vicente Rangel said in a Foreign Ministry press statement.

Mr. Rangel dismissed reports that the U.S. government regarded the gulf as international waters.

Church-state battle on birth pill erupts

VATICAN CITY A church-state battle has erupted in Italy after the Vatican condemned a "morning-after" pill and urged pharmacists not to sell it.

The pill went on sale this week, listed by the Health Ministry as a "method of emergency contraception." But the Vatican called it a form of chemical abortion and said pharmacists should be conscientious objectors against "new hidden forms of aggression" threatening human life.

By law, pharmacists in Italy must provide customers with all government-approved medicines.

Ebola death reported outside impact site

KAMPALA, Uganda International health officials confirmed yesterday that the deadly Ebola virus has claimed a victim hundreds of miles from the Ugandan town where they had hoped to confine a recent outbreak.

Specialists had been sent to investigate the Oct. 26 death of a 20-year-old soldier in the town of Mbarara in southern Uganda. Late yesterday, the chairman of a national task force on the Ebola outbreak in the country's north said doctors have confirmed that the soldier was the latest victim of the contagious disease.

"This soldier is suspected to have had some contact [with the virus] in Gulu during the burial of an Ebola victim, and we suspect he may have touched the body," Sam Okware said in a statement.

Saddam confers with Jordanian

BAGHDAD Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday met Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb, who is seeking renewal of an annual oil agreement with Iraq worth at least $700 million this year.

Mr. Ragheb handed the Iraqi president a message from Jordan's King Abdullah, who expressed his desire to improve relations in all fields, the Iraqi News Agency said.

It said the king, who has kept his distance from Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party leadership since he assumed the throne early last year, also expressed Jordan's hope for an end to U.N. sanctions on Iraq, imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

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