- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2001

Swiss reject closer ties with European Union

ZURICH, Switzerland Swiss voters yesterday overwhelmingly rejected a bid to establish closer ties with the European Union, making it unlikely the small Alpine nation could join the 15-nation bloc this decade.
Projections by Swiss television showed almost 80 percent of voters said "no" to immediate EU membership talks in a referendum called by a "Yes to Europe" campaign.
By midafternoon, official results showed a majority of voters in 22 of the country's 26 cantons, or states, had rejected the initiative.

Khatami ally sentenced by hard-line court

TEHRAN A hard-line court has sentenced Iran's senior election official to prison for vote tampering, state-run media reported yesterday, in a move toppling the reformist president's key ally three months ahead of presidential elections.

The sentencing of Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh appears to be a pre-emptive move to give hard-liners an election edge in the battle for political control of the nation.

President Mohammed Khatami is overwhelmingly popular and likely to seek a second term. In a fair contest, he is widely expected to rout any candidate backed by hard-liners.

Gunmen kill mother of Zimbabwean activist

HARARE, Zimbabwe Armed gunmen yesterday shot and killed the mother of a prominent opposition activist, who was himself the victim of a political slaying on the same southern Zimbabwean farm last year.
Three armed men, believed to be members of the Liberation War Veterans Association and armed with at least one AK-47 rifle, killed Gloria Olds, 65, early in the morning, said David Coltart, a friend of the Olds family and a legislator for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Mrs. Olds was the eighth member of Zimbabwe's white farming community to be killed since militants and veterans of the country's independence war began violently seizing white-owned farms last year with the backing of President Robert Mugabe and his government.

Macedonia closes border with Kosovo

SKOPJE, Macedonia Macedonia said late yesterday its security forces would take coordinated action with the Kfor NATO-led peacekeeping forces in Kosovo to bring a rebellious border village under control.
But Foreign Minister Sergan Kerim said there was no reason to mount a military intervention against Tanusevci village, which lies just inside Macedonia, a fragile multiethnic state that so far has escaped the Balkan conflicts of the past decade.
Macedonia earlier closed the border with Kosovo and placed police guards outside strategic buildings in the capital following the deaths of three soldiers near Tanusevci.

Scores missing after bridge collapse

LISBON At least 67 persons were feared dead after a bridge in northern Portugal on which a bus and two cars were traveling collapsed late yesterday, officials said.
One body was recovered after the bus plunged into the Douro river near the town of Castelo de Paiva. The town's mayor told reporters he did not believe anyone could have survived the accident.
The bridge, about 180 miles north of Lisbon, gave way at about 9 p.m. local time, TSF radio reported.

Foot-and-mouth disease spreads to France

LONDON An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that has swept the United Kingdom spread to France yesterday, where the agricultural minister said some sheep imported from Britain tested positive for the highly contagious ailment.
The disease was also found at a huge national park in southwest England, officials said yesterday, while Belgium shut down its two largest zoos and Denmark quarantined seven farms in a bid to ward off the livestock disease.
Officials said tests of slaughtered sheep in France "show that these animals were in contact with the malady but were not necessarily carriers of the malady."

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