- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

Iraq threatens oil boycott
NEW YORK The major powers on the U.N. Security Council avoided a standoff on Iraq by agreeing yesterday to extend a U.N. humanitarian program for one month time that can be used to restructure sanctions there.
Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Douri rejected the proposal, which is expected to be adopted today. He said Iraq would not sign any new oil contracts during the one-month extension period.
The short-term extension of the oil-for-food program marked the first time in more than two years that the five veto-wielding nations Britain, the United States, China, Russia and France reached agreement on Iraq.

Cuban reporters seek press freedom

HAVANA — Cuban dissident journalists who defy President Fidel Castros government in a bid to break a state monopoly on news media announced yesterday the creation of a society to defend their interests.
A statement announcing the creation of the Manuel Marquez Sterling Journalists Association — named after an early 20th century Cuban journalist — said it would promote freedom of expression and training for alternative journalists.
The groups president, Ricardo Gonzalez, said 40 of Cubas roughly 100 dissident journalists planned to join. He said the reporters, most of whom are opposition political activists, work in precarious conditions filing stories abroad by telephone or fax, for use mainly on Internet sites.

Marxists suspected in Colombia massacre

BOGOTA, Colombia — Suspected Marxist guerrillas killed 24 peasants, beheading many of their victims, in an attack in northern Colombia, local officials said yesterday.
The rebels apparently believed the peasants they killed this week had been collaborating with far-right paramilitary militias.
"The victims of the attack were 24 peasants. They were executed with machetes, and most of them were decapitated," the mayor of the town of Tierralta, Sigilfredo Senior Sotomayor, told Reuters by telephone.
Mr. Sotomayor and the Cordoba provincial government blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the killings.

NATO expansion still a guessing game

VILNIUS, Lithuania — NATO Secretary-General George Robertson yesterday said discussions on enlarging the alliance were likely to remain a "guessing game" as all elements of a decision wont be in place until a summit in 2002.
Lawmakers from 10 NATO hopefuls had wanted to hear something more specific about their chances for membership, but Mr. Robertson said informed decisions on further enlargement could not be made until candidate countries implement a third year of their membership action plans — a program designed to help prepare NATO hopefuls for entry into the alliance.

Africa targets Europe for slave reparations

GENEVA — African rights activists said yesterday they would press a world conference against racism to declare slavery and colonialism "a double Holocaust" and would call for compensation from former colonial powers.
Compensation from countries active in the slave trade of the 17th to 19th centuries, such as France, Britain, Portugal and the United States, could take the form of aid for development, they said.
International nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are meeting in Geneva to prepare a common position to take to a U.N. "World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" to be held in Durban, South Africa, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7.

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