- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2002

86 countries back code for missile programs
PARIS France said Friday more than 80 countries backed a draft international code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation following a two-day Paris conference.
All the participants "acknowledge that missile proliferation is a problem," and that "a multilateral approach can contribute to resolving this problem," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Eighty-six countries including Iran, Israel, Russia, the United States and nuclear rivals India and Pakistan were represented at the conference to discuss the French proposal.
The text, which would have the force of a political engagement rather than an international treaty, calls for each signatory to describe its ballistic missile program once per year and notify the others of each missile test.

Macedonia wants NATO mission extended
SKOPJE, Macedonia Macedonia formally asked NATO to extend its mission for three months, visiting NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said Friday.
Mr. Robertson, who arrived here Thursday to press authorities to extend the 700-strong mission beyond the end of March, said he had received a letter of request from Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski.
The mission, which was due to end on March 26, provides security for international observers sent after a peace accord was signed in August to end a seven-month ethnic Albanian uprising.

EU lawmakers OK tax-havens pact
PARIS Lawmakers from across Europe approved a plan Friday to clamp down on money laundering, pledging to isolate tax havens and make financial transactions more easy to track.
If adopted by national governments, the 30-point plan would severely restrict business with countries appearing on an international financial blacklist, which includes Russia, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Parliamentarians from the 15-nation European Union as well as from 10 candidate countries and Russia took part in the two-day meeting at the French National Assembly.

Cell phones to lead in months, group says
GENEVA Within just a few months, when the telephone rings it will more likely be in your pocket than at home, if projections released Friday by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are proved right.
Already, there are more than 1 billion cell phones around the world, and the number is expected to outstrip that of fixed-line telephones in the early half of this year, the Geneva-based body announced Friday.
There were only 50 million mobile phones in the world in 1993 compared with 600 million traditional appliances, but with an annual growth rate exceeding 50 percent ever since, the cell phones will soon pass the 1.2 billion mark and leave the older versions lagging behind, the group said.

Weekly notes
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has Irish roots, according to researchers in Dublin, who say his great-grandfather crossed the Atlantic to the United States during the 19th century. The Clare Heritage Center in Corofin, on Ireland's west coast, says it has established that a man named Abe Grady from Ennis, County Clare, who emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s, is the ex-heavyweight champ's great-grandfather. The Irish ancestry of Mr. Ali, 60, who was originally named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, was tracked down as part of research for a program to be screened by the Irish-language TV channel, TG4, next week. The first priest in Spanish history to openly acknowledge living an active homosexual life vowed Friday to fight to make the Roman Catholic Church abandon its "caveman mentality" and accept homosexuals in the pews and on the pulpit. But the Rev. Jose Mantero, from the small southern town of Valverde del Camino, first had to defend himself against what he described as a smear campaign by prelates and conservative opinion makers since his confession scandalized the church and catapulted him to stardom in Spain.

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