- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Two Koreas explore renewed contacts
SEOUL Resuming high-level talks after a nine-month hiatus, South and North Korean negotiators yesterday discussed sports exchanges, the reopening of a cross-border railway and more reunions of family members who were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
South Korea proposed the initiatives, spokesman Lee Bong-jo said, and there were no details on North Korea's response. But representatives of both sides said significant progress was made in their efforts to revive the reconciliation process on their divided peninsula.
"If we join forces, there is no mountain or river we cannot cross," Kim Ryong-song, the chief North Korean negotiator, said at a Seoul hotel.

Sharon weighs election if budget curbs rejected
JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon raised the prospect yesterday of calling early elections in January unless parliament passes his belt-tightening budget for an economy battered by recession and Palestinian revolt.
Sources close to Mr. Sharon said if his coalition partners, particularly the center-left Labor Party and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, vote against a first reading of the 2003 budget in parliament in November, he will declare a poll 10 months early.

Kenya's Moi sacks critic of succession plan
NAIROBI, Kenya Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi ousted a long-serving Cabinet minister yesterday, firing a warning shot at opponents of his plan to hand over power to the son of the country's first president.
Mr. Moi has faced open revolt from key ministers by backing Uhuru Kenyatta as his favored candidate at presidential elections expected in December, when Mr. Moi is due to step down after 24 years in power.
Mr. Moi's Presidential Press Service issued a statement saying he had fired Environment Minister Joseph Kamotho, a stalwart member of the Kenya African National Union who openly opposed Mr. Kenyatta.

U.S. soldiers seize 3 al Qaeda suspects
BAGRAM, Afghanistan U.S. special forces captured three suspected al Qaeda fighters in eastern Afghanistan during the weekend, a U.S. military spokesman said yesterday.
The suspects were taken near the town of Khost on Saturday night, said Col. Roger King at Bagram, the U.S. military headquarters.

New polio cases rise threefold in India
NEW DELHI The number of new polio cases in India nearly tripled in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period in 2001, in a setback to the world's goal of eradicating the crippling disease by 2005.
The National Polio Surveillance Project, run by the government and the World Health Organization, said 86 new cases were reported from January through June, compared with 31 cases during the same period last year.
The total number of new polio cases for 2002 could end up being triple the 268 cases reported last year, said Dr. Anubha Ghose, India's director for health at the Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere (CARE), an international humanitarian organization.

Rain forests dyingat slower rate
BRUSSELS A European study has found that the world's tropical rain forests are disappearing more slowly than previously thought, though the rate of destruction is still alarming, a magazine reported.
The study by a team at the European Union's Joint Research Center found the area of rain forest destroyed between 1990 and 1997 was 23 percent smaller than the generally accepted figure.
"I think we have to be cautious about saying it's good news," said Hugh Eva, co-author of the team's report published in this week's issue of Science magazine.

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