- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2001

Chavez leads march for education plan

CARACAS, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez led thousands of parents, teachers and students in a march through Caracas yesterday to bolster support for his contested education reforms.

Escorted by heavy police security, about 5,000 marchers blew whistles and waved banners bearing slogans defending the government's push to tighten supervision on public and private schools. The marchers some of them high school students clad in the national blue-and-white uniform gathered at the presidential palace, where Mr. Chavez, holding an infant, led them in song.

The march came in response to two protests by thousands of parents and teachers who fear officials plan to introduce leftist indoctrination in schools.

At issue is a decree that allows the minister of education to fire directors or teachers in both private and public schools based on reports by hand-picked supervisors.

Kabila sets up panel to probe assassination

KINSHASA, Congo President Joseph Kabila of Congo ordered the creation of a commission to investigate the assassination of his father and predecessor, Laurent Kabila, official radio reported yesterday.

The commission will be made up of members from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, its allies in the bitter civil war that has torn the country for 2 and 1/2 years.

The presidential decree said the commission would work for 30 days, or more if needed. It would have powers to detain and order the arrest of any suspect and would have access to all relevant documents.

Ethiopia hails mission to Islamic Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan A high-level Ethiopian delegation left Sudan yesterday at the end of a four-day official visit, described by Ethiopia's top diplomat in Sudan as "very successful."

Ethiopian Charge d'Affaires Abdu Legesse Bushra said the delegation, led by Chief-of Staff Gen. Gebre-Tensay Gebre-Tsadikan, held talks with his Sudanese counterpart, Abbas Arabi, and his delegation on strengthening ties and exchanging experiences between the armies of the two neighboring countries.

Giant squid brought to museum alive

MELBOURNE, Australia An Australian museum took possession yesterday of one of the most elusive creatures known to man.

Melbourne Museum received a rare, 550-pound giant squid dredged up by fishermen from deep waters off the southern coast of Australia.

A live giant squid has never been seen and scientists flock to the rare examples snared by fishermen and brought up dead in the hope of finding out more about their life cycles.

Melbourne Museum visiting scientist Mark Norman described the giant squid as one of the "last true monsters of the deep."

Convicted Libyan plans to appeal

EDINBURGH, Scotland Libyan secret agent Abdel Basset Megrahi announced yesterday his intention to appeal his conviction for the deadly 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing, officials said.

Notice of his intention to appeal was filed in Edinburgh, the Scottish Executive, or devolved government, said in a statement.

Megrahi was found guilty of murder Jan. 31 for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve at least 20 years.

Arctic said to yield greenhouse gases

NAIROBI, Kenya Greenhouse gases that have been locked safely in the Arctic's permafrost for millennia are now being released because of global warming, scientists warned here yesterday.

"Global warming may be set to accelerate as rising temperatures in the Arctic melt the permafrost, causing it to release greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) said in a statement released during a weeklong meeting here of more than 80 environment ministers from around the world.

"The Arctic is an area where the climate changes are going to cause tremendous problems," wrote Svein Tveitdal, who heads a UNEP research center observing the permafrost in Arendal, Norway.

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