- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

U.S. and Britain plan war games in Yemen

SAN'A, Yemen The United States and Britain will soon begin three months of military exercises with Yemen, Western diplomatic sources said yesterday.

The maneuvers will take place in the remote Hadramaut region of southeastern Yemen, bordering areas where al Qaeda combatants may have taken refuge. The sources gave no indication of the scale of the war games.

The United States already has a 20-member team in the country to coordinate U.S. military assistance and training. Another 30 American military instructors are to arrive at the end of this month, the sources said.

Iraqi Kurd influx angers Italian right

ROME Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi pleaded for tolerance yesterday in response to mounting nationalist anger over the arrival in Sicily of 928 Kurdish migrants on a rusty ship.

Facing angry condemnation of immigration policy from the fiercely Euro-skeptic Northern League, Mr. Ciampi defended the treatment of the mainly Iraqi Kurds who were crammed on board the Monica.

"In emergency cases, the spirit of humanity must triumph over all other considerations," he said in response to calls from Northern League leader Umberto Bossi for the illegal immigrants to be sent home forthwith.

Mr. Bossi, a minister in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative coalition, called in an interview published yesterday for tougher immigration legislation to be rushed through parliament.

Iranian ire spreads to Barbie and Ken

TEHRAN Iran's renewed hostility to the United States has spread to the shelves of toyshops, with the marketing of twin dolls Sara and Dara to win the hearts and minds of Iranian children attracted to Barbie and Ken.

Sara and Dara are known to Iranians from their first year in school, where they are aids to learning Farsi in illustrated books.

Dressed in traditional costume, brown-haired Dara is ostensibly an 8-year-old brown-haired boy and Sara is his twin sister. She wears an Islamic kerchief, and in the box she comes in can be found a miniature chador, the overall cloak that is theoretically obligatory for Iranian women in public.

Their mission is to instill the moral values of the Islamic Republic in the hearts of Iranian children.

Weekly notes

A Palestinian was killed overnight by Israeli gunfire in the southern Gaza Strip. Suleiman Zreay, 50, was killed when an Israeli tank opened heavy machine-gun fire on him, Palestinian security sources said. … A shell fired during the 1991 Gulf war exploded this week, killing Hazem Eidan Salman, a 10-year-old boy born after the shooting stopped, Ahmed Ibrahim Hammash, governor of the southern city of Basra, told yesterday's Al-Basra newspaper. Such explosions are common in Iraq, where authorities estimate 370,000 mines, bombs and shells remain unexploded in the ground.

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