- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Iraq distributes textbooks to Kurds
BAGHDAD Iraq's Education Ministry has started distributing 4.25 million textbooks to pupils from Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq outside Baghdad's control, a newspaper said yesterday.
Education Minister Fahd Salem Shaqra told the weekly Al-Rafidain that the textbooks were being distributed to pupils from the provinces of Arbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk in preparation for the 2002-03 school year in accordance with instructions from President Saddam Hussein.
The books include literature and grammar texts in Kurdish and Arabic, as well as an "Arabic-Kurdish dictionary printed for the first time," Mr. Shaqra said.
Most of northern Iraq has been outside Baghdad's control since after the Persian Gulf war. But it receives essential goods under a U.N.-supervised exemption.

Palestinians kept waiting outside Gaza
RAFAH, Egypt Hundreds of Palestinians are kept waiting for days to cross from Egypt to the Gaza Strip since Israel has slowed its handling of border formalities, Egyptian officials said yesterday.
All of the 100 or so who were able to cross yesterday morning had been waiting for three days or more in the no-man's land on the border, the officials said. Most of those crossing are Palestinian expatriates returning for visits or medical patients going home after treatment abroad.
On Monday, even though many Palestinians were waiting in no-man's land, Israel shut the border before the normal closing time, the Egyptian officials said.

Jordanian opposition hits U.S. war games
AMMAN, Jordan Opposition political parties denounced yesterday the armed forces' participation in joint maneuvers with U.S. troops, saying it was "unacceptable" amid Washington's threats to attack Iraq.
"We denounce the government determination to go ahead with joint military Jordanian-American military maneuvers amid U.S. threats of invading Iraq," said a statement from the opposition.
Jordan and the U.S. Embassy here announced the start of the "annual routine" maneuvers on Monday with the arrival of American forces. Officials said the exercises were not connected to Iraq.
Weekly notes
The health of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, 79, is failing despite his recent recovery from cataract surgery, diplomats said yesterday. King Fahd officially runs the world's largest oil-exporting country, but his half-brother Crown Prince Abdullah took over day-to-day rule in 1995 after the king suffered a stroke. King Fahd's condition "is not much worse, but it is not as stable as before," said a diplomat in Dubai who declined to be identified. Former Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis is under pressure from all sides to commit himself to a political party after he makes a final push to unite feuding groups ahead of November elections. Mr. Dervis, architect of International Monetary Fund rescue pact, has resigned, pledging to seek an alliance of center-left parties. Many fear continuation of the divisions that have beset Turkish politics could bring on a party viewed as Islamist.
From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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