- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Trimble raises stakes on IRA disarmament
BELFAST — Raising the stakes in Northern Ireland peacemaking, the Protestant leader of the power-sharing government announced yesterday he would resign — and risk the coalitions collapse — if the Irish Republican Army doesnt start to disarm by July 1.
First Minister David Trimbles surprise announcement tied his political future to the actions of the outlawed group, which has proved unwilling to deliver on a May 2000 pledge to scrap its weapons.
Mr. Trimble offered a letter of resignation dated July 1, 2001, to the speaker of the Northern Ireland legislature.
"I will resign unless the IRA keep the promise they made a year ago," said Mr. Trimble, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who leads the provinces largest but most bitterly divided party, the Ulster Unionists.

Castro feels at home in radical Iran

TEHRAN — Cuban President Fidel Castro joked yesterday that he slept better his first night in Iran than ever before. The comment reflected Mr. Castros affinity with Iran as both governments were born of revolution and have little tolerance for U.S. sanctions and efforts to brand them as outcasts.
On his first visit to Iran, Mr. Castro discussed the U.S.-imposed sanctions with President Mohammed Khatami, as well as medical and construction-technology exchanges and economic issues, state television reported.
For Iran, playing host to Mr. Castro appears to be another sign of confidence that it is winning the battle against the sanctions, in place since the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the rule of the pro-U.S. shah.

Angola rebels grab 60 orphans in raid

LUANDA, Angola — Angolan rebels abducted 60 orphans between 10 and 18 years old in a midnight raid in the town of Caxito, possibly to use them for slave labor, aid workers said yesterday.
State television had already reported Monday that at least 69 civilians died in Saturdays raid 30 miles from the capital, Luanda. Aid agencies said the toll could be 100.
The rebels kidnapped 51 boys and nine girls from a boarding school for war orphans outside Caxito, northeast of Luanda according to Rikke Viholm, spokeswoman for Development Aid from People to People, which runs the school. Two adults were also seized.

Colombian rebels free 61 inmates

BOGOTA, Colombia — Leftist guerrillas blasted their way with dynamite into a small town jail in Colombia and freed 61 prisoners including fellow rebels, police said yesterday.
The jail break was part of an assault late Monday on the western town of Caloto in which fighters from the countrys largest rebel group also attacked the police station.

Space traveler reflects on trip

STAR CITY, Russia — California financier Dennis Tito showed both sentimentality and flashes of anger yesterday as he reflected on his six days on the International Space Station and the U.S. space agencys bitter reaction to his trip.
The most profound moment for him was when he spoke to his children on Earth over what he called a ham radio link, Mr. Tito said, choking up. While he objected to being called a "space tourist," he was resigned to the term being applied to him.
"I would like people to see me as a serious man who had a dream and pursued it in the face of great difficulty," he told reporters at Star City, the Russian cosmonaut training center where he worked for months to prepare for his trip.

Fatalities are staggering in Congo conflict

NEW YORK — The civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has caused 2.5 million "excess" deaths since August 1998, the U.S.-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) said yesterday.
In its recent mortality study, the IRC estimates that, since the conflict began in 1998, "some 2.5 million deaths have occurred in excess of the number normally expected."
"Congo is a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions," said IRC President Reynold Levy.


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