- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 25, 2002

SPAIN
Oil slick menaces French coastal areas
MADRID High winds are driving a massive oil slick from the sunken tanker Prestige toward French waters, meaning France and Spain may soon have to fight together against the ecological disaster, Spain said yesterday.
The Prestige, laden with 77,000 metric tons of fuel oil, sprang a leak Nov. 13 and then snapped in two and sank six days later, unleashing a tide of foul-smelling sludge on Spain's richest fishing grounds on the northwest coast of Galicia.
Oil continued to wash ashore in Spain while cleanup vessels suctioned oil off the sea surface.

VATICAN CITY
Pope's Christmas appeal stresses peace, hope
VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul II, leading the world's Roman Catholics into Christmas, said early today that the birth of Jesus remained a message of hope in times of war and oppression, suffering and loneliness.
"Jesus is born for a humanity searching for freedom and peace," he said in a homily delivered at midnight Mass at the Vatican.
"He is born for everyone burdened by sin, in need of salvation, and yearning for hope," the pope said, celebrating the 25th Christmas season of his reign as head of the world's 1 billion Catholics.
The 82-year-old Polish pope said Christmas night, celebrating the birth of Jesus, was a night of faith, love and hope.

TURKEY
Defiant lawmakers back banned leader
ANKARA Turkish lawmakers yesterday reaffirmed their backing for constitutional amendments to allow the ruling party's banned leader to become prime minister, in defiance of a veto imposed by the president last week.
In a first-round ballot, more than 400 members of the 550-seat house both from the government and the opposition voted in favor of the amendments, which would pave the way for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who heads the ruling Justice and Development Party, to run in elections.
Last week, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed the constitutional changes on the grounds that they were designed specifically to get Mr. Erdogan elected.

GUATEMALA
Prison riot leaves 14 inmates dead
FRAIJANES Authorities regained control of a medium-security prison outside Guatemala's capital yesterday after an inmate riot escalated overnight, leaving 14 prisoners dead, an official said.
Thirteen corpses, some badly burnt, others missing hands and at least one decapitated, lay in front of Pavoncito prison in this isolated mountain region 20 miles east of Guatemala City.
A prison spokeswoman said authorities had regained control of the prison and that prisoners were surrendering makeshift weapons, including machetes and metal tubes and bars.

CAMBODIA
Government seeks deal on Khmer Rouge trials
PHNOM PENH Cambodia will send a delegation to the United Nations to rekindle talks on a proposed tribunal to try former leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has invited Cambodian negotiators to visit the United Nations in New York on Jan. 6 to prepare for detailed talks, he said. The world body is worried that Cambodia's legal system cannot handle the trials.

SAUDI ARABIA
Prince offers funds for Bush scholarship
RIYADH Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdulaziz has donated $500,000 to a Massachusetts-based scholarship fund named after former President George Bush, the prince's Kingdom Holding Co. said yesterday.
A statement said the donation was part of the tycoon's contributions to "programs aimed at facilitating better understanding with the West, especially at a time when misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims continue to loom there."

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