- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

Paraguay chief defies calls for resignation

ASUNCION, Paraguay Paraguay's unpopular president, besieged by soaring unemployment and poverty, yesterday defiantly rejected calls for him to step down after massive protests left two persons dead this week.

President Luis Gonzalez Macchi lifted a state of emergency earlier than expected after police broke up riots across the South American nation of 5 million people, but he warned any repeat of such violence would not force him to resign.

"Let it be understood once and for all that I will only hand over power to whoever wins democratic elections in 2003," the president said in a televised address.

Mr. Gonzalez Macchi repeated accusations that former Gen. Lino Oviedo had instigated the worst riots in three years.

Annan sees risks on Afghan security

NEW YORK Afghanistan is having a hard time setting up its new army, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday, again calling on the Security Council to expand the mandate of the international peacekeeping force now guarding only the capital, Kabul.

The authorities had "serious problems" assembling an initial ethnically and regionally balanced national guard battalion, which was trained by the International Security Assistance Force, Mr. Annan said in a report to the U.N. General Assembly.

Envoys seek accord ahead of U.N. summit

NEW YORK Envoys from 25 nations met in New York yesterday with the hope of ending an impasse on a blueprint for sustainable development to be adopted at a U.N. environmental summit in Johannesburg opening in less than six weeks.

The meeting was called by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is hosting the Aug. 26-Sept. 4 summit billed as the largest U.N. meeting in history with more than 100 world leaders and 60,000 delegates expected to attend.

NATO Cold War head Joseph Luns dies at 90

BRUSSELS Former NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns, the longest-serving head of the Western defense alliance and a towering figure during much of the Cold War, died Tuesday at age 90.

Mr. Luns, who lived in retirement outside Brussels, died during the night, a NATO spokesman said.

Mr. Luns was appointed secretary-general of NATO in October 1971 after 15 years as Dutch foreign minister.

Kashmir official says army killed civilians

SRINAGAR, India Jammu and Kashmir state Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has accused India's army of killing civilians two years ago during a visit by President Clinton and falsely saying that the dead were Pakistan-based militants.

The findings underscore statements by human rights groups who have repeatedly accused the Indian security forces and Islamic rebels fighting to free Kashmir from Indian rule of killing civilians.

Prosecution to seek death in Pakistan rape

MULTAN, Pakistan Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for four men who purportedly gang-raped a woman in a remote village after a tribal council ordered the punishment, her attorney said yesterday.

Police have arrested 18 persons in connection with the June 22 rape in Meerwala.

Labor unrest simmers at Olympic village site

ATHENS Labor unrest simmered yesterday at the construction site of the Athens Olympic Village after the deaths of four workers in seven months.

Demetris Vandoros, head of the construction workers' union building the village where thousands of athletes will stay during the 2004 games, said his union had called on 2,000 workers at the complex in Athens to down tools today and tomorrow, demanding better safety.

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