- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2001

Powell warns U.N. on debate pitfalls

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that calls for slavery reparations and a condemnation of Zionism could "derail" an upcoming U.N. conference on racism.

"We don´t want to derail this conference, but these issues could derail it and make it harder for us to participate unless they´re dealt with," Mr. Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He said he had told U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson in a meeting on Monday that "serious work" needed to be done to remove the points that put the conference "in danger of becoming mired in past events."

"I told her I was anxious to see strong U.S. participation in the conference but that some serious work needed to be done to eliminate such issues as the 'Zionism is racism´ proposition or getting into slavery and compensation and things of that nature, which would detract from the purpose of the conference," he said.

Coca-Cola signs up for Africa AIDS battle

GENEVA — The Coca-Cola Co. is joining DaimlerChrysler and other multinational corporations in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, offering to use Coke trucks to deliver everything from condoms to AIDS prevention fliers in its effort to combat the deadly disease.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, working with the U.N. agency that is coordinating the global AIDS battle, also has agreed to provide testing kits and care for infected people in Africa, a company spokesman said. No dollar value was placed on the offer.

"We are excited about this partnership and what it means for the fight against AIDS," said Peter Piot, executive director of the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS.

Talks on migration from Cuba planned

HAVANA — High-level migration talks between Cuba and the United States, which would be the first formal contacts between Fidel Castro´s communist government and the new Bush administration, have been provisionally set for next week, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

The sources said the normally biannual conversations had been scheduled in principle for Tuesday in New York, but Washington or Havana gave no formal confirmation.

The talks are intended to monitor the fulfillment of accords signed by both sides in the mid-1990s to stem the illegal flow from Cuba of would-be migrants to the United States via the perilous sea voyage to Florida.

Clinton faces protests on Holocaust address

TORONTO — Former President Bill Clinton will face protests next week in Toronto for being an "inappropriate" person to speak on behalf of a group trying to raise money for a Holocaust memorial.

Rwandan exiles and other groups plan to picket the Monday night speech to make the point that the policies of Clinton´s administration worsened the bloodshed in Rwanda seven years ago.

"The blood on this man´s hands makes him unfit to talk about commemorating victims of genocide," said Che Rupari, an organizer of a planned demonstration by Rwandans living in Canada.

Some Jews are also upset about Mr. Clinton´s appearance on behalf of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem because they believe it dishonors the massacre of up to 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994.

Latest Bush gaffe draws student laughter

LONDON — A class of British 11-year-olds said President Bush should go back to school after he sent them a letter describing them as young Americans.

Pupils at Oakhill College in Lancashire, northwest England, were thrilled to get a signed letter from the U.S. president after they sent him congratulations on his inauguration, assistant bursar Cathryn Robbins said yesterday.

But their awe-struck silence was soon replaced by gales of laughter when their teacher read the letter out loud.

"As young Americans, you have an important responsibility, which is to become good citizens," the letter stated.

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