- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

Peru's president names new Cabinet members

LIMA, Peru President Alejandro Toledo swore in a new prime minister and several Cabinet members yesterday in a bid to revive his sagging popularity and calm turbulent political waters one year into his administration.

Luis Solari, a key figure in Mr. Toledo's Peru Possible Party, was named prime minister and chief of the Cabinet. He replaced Roberto Danino, an independent former Washington lawyer whose management was said to have alienated some party leaders.

Javier Silva Ruete, a two-time economy minister, assumed the post again from Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a U.S. investment banker and former World Bank official whose free-market economic program had sparked frequent street protests.

Ex-minister challenges Turkish leader

ANKARA, Turkey Former Foreign Minister Ismail Cem announced yesterday that he is forming a new political party to topple ailing Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

The announcement was the biggest blow so far to the rule of Mr. Ecevit, who has no plans to step down. But three more deputies deserted yesterday, shaving Mr. Ecevit's majority in the 550-seat parliament to 14 seats, and one of Mr. Ecevit's key allies suggested he might withdraw his party from the coalition.

Mr. Cem, who resigned Thursday, was one of the government's most popular ministers and was instrumental in warming ties with traditional rival Greece.

Swiss president barred from Russian mourning

MOSCOW Swiss President Kaspar Villiger canceled plans to attend a ceremony for Russian air crash victims after Russian authorities, noting anger over the actions of Swiss air traffic controllers, said they could not guarantee his security.

Mr. Villiger was to travel to Moscow yesterday to attend the ceremony today in the Ural Mountains city of Ufa. The trip was called off late Thursday.

A Swiss Embassy official said the Russians cited strong emotions about the July 1 catastrophe among relatives of the victims, including 45 children from Ufa who were headed to Spain on a holiday trip.

Iraqi defectors discuss plan to oust Saddam

LONDON Iraqi military officers once loyal to Saddam Hussein met in London yesterday, and an army general who defected four years ago called for the president's overthrow and a transition to civilian rule.

Khaled Shams al-Din called the meeting, which the officers say was organized without sponsorship from the United States.

He insisted that disaffected army officers instrumental in any overthrow of Saddam must afterward give way to a democratic government.

President Bush vowed Monday to use "all tools" to oust Saddam, accused by Washington of trying to rebuild weapons of mass destruction, but has yet to give the go-ahead for military action against Iraq as part of the "war on terror."

Twin pandas are born at China research center

BEIJING Twin giant pandas were born yesterday at a research center in southwestern China, a scientist reported.

The baby pandas were born at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection Research Center in Sichuan province, said Li Wei, a researcher at the center.

Since 1991, more than 30 giant pandas have been born in the research center in Wolong, and more than 20 have survived.

The giant panda is one of the world's rarest animals, with only about 1,000 left in the wild.

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