- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2001

Red Cross to stop food aid in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan The International Red Cross said yesterday that it will stop distributing food to thousands of families in Afghanistan's war-ruined capital in March and divert the aid to a drought-hit western province.
Suffering its worst drought in 30 years, Ghor province has thousands of families dependent on Red Cross assistance to survive, Red Cross official Maria Musa told the Associated Press.
As of March, the Red Cross will stop giving out food to more than 3,600 families in Kabul, many of them headed by widows or disabled people, Ms. Musa said. Since 1996, the international relief agency has been distributing 300 pounds of food per family every three months, Ms. Musa said.

Portugal's president wins a second term

LISBON Portugal's President Jorge Sampaio was elected yesterday to a second five-year term, though low voter turnout cast a pall over his victory.
Mr. Sampaio won 55.8 percent of the vote, according to official election results, gathering some 20 percent more than his nearest challenger, a triumph for the governing Socialist Party.
Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Guterres said voters opted for political stability by choosing a Socialist head of state.
The head of state in Portugal possesses no executive power and acts mostly as a ceremonial figure, while the prime minister is the head of government.

Iraq releases details of MIA search

BAGHDAD Responding to U.S. reports about a missing American pilot from the Gulf war, Iraq yesterday divulged details of a 1995 search of a crash site in its western desert carried out by the U.S. military and the Red Cross.
U.S. intelligence officials in Washington said Friday there were unconfirmed reports in recent years that Lt. Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher survived the Jan. 17, 1991, downing of his F-18 Hornet, and was detained by the Iraqis. The U.S. government sent a diplomatic communication to Baghdad on Wednesday demanding an accounting, U.S. officials said.
The Iraqis say Lt. Cmdr. Speicher did not survive the downing of his plane.

Helicopter crash kills U.N. disaster officials

BEIJING Investigators today rushed to the site in remote northwestern Mongolia where a helicopter carrying U.N. disaster relief officials crashed, killing nine persons including one American, a U.N. official said.

Fourteen others were injured when a Russian-made MI-8 helicopter spun out of control, crashed and exploded yesterday, U.N. and Mongolian officials said.

Four of the dead were members of a U.N. team sent to inspect heavy snows that have decimated herders' livestock and arrange a U.N.-led relief effort, officials said.

German official insists uranium risks unproven

BERLIN Germany's defense minister yesterday dismissed concerns that weapons containing depleted uranium pose a radiation risk, saying the "excited debate" about the issue ignores scientific opinion that there is no evidence to support such fears.
Interviewed on ZDF television, Rudolf Scharping also reiterated he sees no link between reported leukemia cases among German soldiers and the deployment of German peacekeepers to Kosovo, where U.S. forces used armor-piercing shells containing depleted uranium.

Greek storm kills 10; six persons missing

ATHENS Coast guard vessels and navy choppers searched yesterday for five persons missing after an ambulance helicopter crashed during a powerful storm in southern Greece. The storm was blamed for the deaths of 10 persons elsewhere in the country.

Eight persons were killed in traffic accidents blamed on the bad weather, which seriously disrupted air transport, including services at Athens International Airport.

On the western island of Zakynthos, an 8-year-old girl was missing after falling into the sea. The girl's mother and uncle drowned, authorities said.

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