- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 23, 2001

U.N. releases drug-use report

VIENNA, Austria Cocaine and heroin abuse is diminishing worldwide but consumption of amphetamines is growing, the United Nations said in a report released yesterday.
The report, published by the U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, said the increase in amphetamine usage in the 1990s was mainly in Europe and in Asia, with developed countries the main suppliers.
In the United States, drug use fell 40 percent from 1985 to 1999, with cocaine use falling 70 percent. Officials with the drug agency said that much of the reduction was a result of increased government spending on prevention and treatment.

Trial opens in French scandal

PARIS Former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, a close friend of the late Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, went on trial yesterday in the biggest political sleaze case in the country's recent history.
Mr. Dumas is charged along with his former mistress, Christine Deviers-Joncour, and five businessmen of misusing funds at the previously state-owned Elf-Aquitaine oil company.
The Elf case has sent shock waves through the political establishment, raising accusations of rampant, institutionalized corruption during Mr. Mitterrand's 14-year reign. Mr. Dumas has denied charges that he helped Miss Deviers-Joncour get a job with Elf in 1989 and then benefited from the fortune that the petroleum giant showered on her.

Burmese court rules in Suu Kyi's favor

RANGOON, Burma A court yesterday gave pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi a rare legal victory in military-ruled Burma, throwing out a property-dispute case filed by her estranged brother.
Citing procedural errors, Rangoon Division Court Judge Soe Thein dismissed a petition to divide the sprawling lakeside property where she lives under house arrest.
Since courts are controlled by the junta government, the case's dismissal appears to show that the generals are making an effort to keep the atmosphere conducive for ongoing reconciliation talks with Mrs. Suu Kyi, who yesterday marked four months of house arrest.

U.N. says forests still shrinking

ROME The world's forests are still vanishing, but at a slower rate than five years ago, U.N. experts reported yesterday.
They said the world has been losing more than 22 million acres of forest a year since 1995, 20 percent less than in the previous five-year period.
Forests are disappearing most rapidly in Africa and Latin America, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization report said. In Asia, new plantations are helping make up for loss of natural forests, it said.

Syria authorizes satirical newspaper

DAMASCUS, Syria Syrian authorities has given the green light to a satirical newspaper, the first since the Ba'ath party took power in 1963, the publication's owner and editor said yesterday.
The newspaper is to be called al-Domary, or the "Lantern-carrier," which Ali Farzat said "reflects the role of the newspaper, to shine a light on the negative aspects."
The authorization of al-Domary comes amid a program of liberalization started by President Bashar Assad, who succeeded his long-ruling father Hafez Assad last year.

Popocatepetl spews column of ash, smoke

MEXICO CITY The Popocatepetl volcano that towers over the Mexico City region shot rocks and a plume of ash and smoke more than five miles high yesterday, alarming people who had been evacuated from nearby villages a month before.

Officials in Puebla state told the Radio Red network that the mushroom-shaped plume was one of the largest since the 17,886-foot volcano began a cycle of eruptions in 1994 after decades of relative dormancy.

Yesterday's eruption sent rocks flying from the crater and caused a flow of ash three miles down the volcano's canyons.

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