- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2001

Ghana swears in opposition leader

ACCRA, Ghana President John Kuffuor accepted the sword of office yesterday from Ghana's longtime leader, pledging to rebuild this West African nation's ailing economy while warning that the future offered no easy solution.
Ghana's economic troubles are a large part of what helped Mr. Kuffuor defeat John Atta Mills, the vice president to former President Jerry Rawlings, the charismatic one-time military ruler who had dominated Ghana's political scene for nearly 20 years. Mr. Rawlings, whose brutal military regime had eventually mellowed into an elected civilian government, had worked hard for Mr. Mills' campaign.
"We have work to do, and that starts today," Mr. Kuffuor, a longtime opposition leader, told tens of thousands of cheering supporters crammed into Accra's Independence Square. "Our greatest enemy is poverty, and the battle against poverty starts with reconciling our people and forging ahead in unity."

Five mortars explode in Iranian capital

TEHRAN Five mortar shells exploded in northern Tehran yesterday near a military base belonging to Iran's elite Islamic Republic Guards Corps, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The rebel group Mujahedeen Khalq, in a call to the Associated Press in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, claimed responsibility for the mortar attack, saying the target was the base.
The official Iranian agency reported no casualties. But the Mujahedeen Khalq said the explosions inflicted many casualties among Iran's security forces and caused damage to the military compound and vehicles in it. The conflicting casualty reports could not be independently verified.

Milosevic may face trial for war crimes

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia A senior pro-democracy leader said yesterday Slobodan Milosevic likely will face trial on charges that could include war crimes atrocities cited by the United Nations a possible compromise deal with the international community.

Leaders worldwide have been insisting that Mr. Milosevic be extradited for a trial in The Hague, the headquarters of the U.N. tribunal. The post-Milosevic leadership is opposed to a trial outside Yugoslavia. Vladan Batic's suggestion of a trial in Serbia by U.N. tribunal standards could be a halfway point.

Mr. Batic, who is expected to become Serbia's justice minister once a government is formed in Yugoslavia's major republic, said Mr. Milosevic likely would be tried in Serbia, and not in The Hague.

Secret peace talks face deadline

GENEVA Indonesian officials and envoys from the Aceh independence movement meet in secret in Switzerland this week ahead of a looming deadline for the end of a six-month cease-fire between their forces on the island.

The talks, due to last three days, are the latest effort by the Geneva-based Henri Dunant Center for Humanitarian Dialogue to bring peace to Aceh, home to 4 million people and scene of decades of military suppression of pro-independence rebels.

"There are hopes that it will be at least agreed to renew the cease-fire and to move the process on a bit to improve the wider political situation" around and on the island, said one source close to the negotiations, whose location like those of similar meetings over the past year has not been disclosed.

Cuban media mock Epiphany parade

HAVANA An Epiphany parade organized by Spain's embassy in communist-ruled Cuba was criticized yesterday by Cuban media, which said the event was an imported capitalist show dangerous for local children.
Cuban state television and an official newspaper slammed as "scarecrows," "clowns" and "insulting types" the Spanish diplomats and businessmen who dressed up to represent the Magi to throw sweets to children in downtown Havana on Saturday.
The parade of the Three Kings riding in horse-drawn coaches was organized by the Spanish Embassy's Cultural Center in Havana. It was approved by the Cuban authorities and had a police motorcycle escort.


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