- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Officials open Caspian oil pipeline

ATYRAU, Kazakhstan Russian and Kazakh officials yesterday began pumping crude oil through the first major pipeline to be built in the resource-rich Caspian Sea region in a decade.

The opening of the $2.6 billion pipeline was a victory for Russia. The United States had struggled to limit Russia's control over petroleum exports from the region, backing an alternative route through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea and conspicuously avoiding Russia and Iran.

The pipeline, which runs from Kazakhstan's Tengiz field to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, will bring Russia new transport tariffs and added political clout in the region.

Mexico closes military bases

MEXICO CITY Mexico closed the last two military bases near the Zapatista rebel mountain hide-out yesterday in taking a new step toward ending the armed standoff in the poor southern state of Chiapas.
A huge military buildup in Chiapas began after January 1994, when Zapatista rebels, led by Subcommander Marcos, took up arms to champion Mexico's rural Indians.
The government decree announcing the closing of the Guadalupe Tepeyac and Rio Euseba bases targeted the last of seven military installations that surrounded the Zapatista mountain encampments.

Survey says Atlanta has world's largest airport

GENEVA Atlanta's Hartsfield International again was the world's busiest airport for takeoffs and landings as well as for the total number of passengers in 2000, according to preliminary figures released yesterday.

Hartsfield handled 915,657 flights, a rise of 0.6 percent from 1999, said the Geneva-based Airports Council International. Chicago's O'Hare remained in second with 908,989.

Atlanta also topped the list for the total number of passengers, handling 80.2 million people, a rise of 2.8 percent over the previous year. O'Hare came in second with 72.1 million passengers, almost the same number as 1999.

Iranian rebels claim bomb attack in Tehran

TEHRAN Assailants threw a hand grenade at an Iranian revolutionary prosecutor's office late yesterday, but there were no casualties and minimal damage to the building, a security official at the office said.
There was a small black mark above the entrance to the concrete building, which is located next to a busy Tehran thoroughfare.
Iran's opposition People's Mujahideen Organization said in a statement faxed to Reuters in Dubai that its units had fired rocket-propelled grenades at the building in Moallem Street in retaliation for recent executions.

British peers vote against hunting ban

LONDON British peers put themselves on collision course with the elected lower house of Parliament yesterday after massively rejecting a bill to ban hunting with hounds.
The controversial draft law for a ban had been overwhelmingly approved by deputies in the House of Commons, but peers shrugged off the pressure.
Not only did they vote by 317-68 against a ban, they also rejected a compromise option said to be favored by the government of licensing hunts.
Instead, they favored the third choice, which is that hunts should be allowed to regulate themselves to prevent some of the more cruel aspects, such as deliberately killing a fox to give dogs the scent of blood.

Beached elephant seal blocks office entrance

CAPE TOWN, South Africa Office workers yesterday found the entrance to their waterfront building blocked by a 2,000-pound elephant seal.
With the 15-foot-long seal stretched out in front of the main entrance, workers had to use side entrances.
The seal, part of a colony near Gough Island, about 1,500 miles southwest of Cape Town, somehow got off its normal course, perhaps to avoid sharks or killer whales or pushed by strong currents, said Ralston Lewis, a member of the Wildlife Society.

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