- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Estonian leader Laar resigns
TALLINN, Estonia Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar handed in his resignation yesterday, just as the nation began a final push to join NATO and the European Union.
Mr. Laar announced his decision after talks failed to end a bitter dispute within the three-party coalition over one partner's local government alliances with the opposition Center Party.
President Arnold Ruutel has two weeks to pick a prime minister to head Estonia's 10th government since the country broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Although Mr. Ruutel has not tipped his hand, most eyes are focused on Finance Minister Siim Kallas as the likely candidate.

Nobel physics laureate Prokhorov dies
MOSCOW Russian Nobel laureate Alexander Prokhorov, an inventor of laser technology and a leading light in the Soviet Union's space defense program, died yesterday at age 85, the Academy of Sciences said.
Mr. Prokhorov won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1964, along with fellow countryman Nikolai Basov and U.S. scientist Charles Townes for laying the groundwork for the invention of the laser.
The research institute that he headed was also a key contributor to the Soviet program to counter President Reagan's plans for a "star wars" defense system so called because it would destroy ballistic missiles in space.

Swiss campaign to join United Nations
BERN, Switzerland The Swiss government formally began its referendum campaign yesterday to bring Switzerland into the United Nations, calling on voters to ignore claims that the country's neutrality would be compromised if it decided to join.
Setting the scene for a bruising battle with anti-U.N. campaigners ahead of the referendum on membership due March 3, ministers said Switzerland, as the last fully fledged state apart from the Vatican not to be a member of the United Nations, had gained a reputation for passiveness in world affairs.
"Our current status as an observer considerably reduces our opportunities within the U.N.," Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss told reporters.
Although Switzerland is not a member of the United Nations, several U.N. agencies are based in Geneva, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization.
In 1986, 75.7 percent of Swiss voters rejected U.N. membership in a similar referendum.

Poland to auction old Soviet tanks
WARSAW The Polish military announced yesterday an auction of aging Soviet-designed T-55 tanks for use to combat the recent heavy snowfall that has paralyzed much of the country.
Offered at a price of $6,865 apiece, the tanks "could be utilized against snow or fires, or to build dikes to prevent floods," said the military's property agency, which is charged with selling surplus equipment.
The T-55 weighs in at 36 tons and can attain a maximum speed of 30 mph.
"Considering the difficult weather conditions, it is a good time for the sale," the agency's spokesman Wieslaw Rozbicki was quoted as saying by the Polish news agency PAP.
Heavy snowfall paralyzed traffic throughout Poland last week.

Pop singer, golf star back pro-Christian effort
BERLIN British pop singer Cliff Richard and German world-class golfer Bernhard Langer have lent their faces and names to a pro-God and pro-Christ campaign mounted in Germany by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation.
Other supporters of the campaign are Prince Philip of Prussia, the great grandson of the last German emperor, and Bayern Munich soccer star Paulo Sergio, the news weekly Der Spiegel reported.
The campaign, in the form of leaflets distributed with daily newspapers, television spots and billboards, promotes a free 134-page book titled "Kraft zum Leben (Strength for Life)."
It said the foundation, which promotes "clean" lifestyles without use of nicotine or alcohol, also has financed campaigns against homosexual partnerships, abortion and premarital sex.

Animal lovers rescue survivors in Afghan Zoo
LONDON An animal-protection group is sending a team to Afghanistan tomorrow to help the few survivors at Kabul's long-neglected zoo, including Marjon, the one-eyed lion.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals also will assess the situation of other animals in the country, including livestock and stray dogs.
Kabul's zoo was trashed long ago by warring Afghan factions. Most of the animals have died and others are suffering from years of neglect and, in some cases, abuse.
The World Society is providing a regular supply of food to the few remaining animals at the zoo, which include a bear, wolves and monkeys, as well as Marjon.
The lion lost an eye when an Afghan guerrilla threw a grenade into its cage and the lion, expecting food, pounced on it.

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