- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

China seeks dialogue with NATO
BRUSSELS China has approached NATO to seek a strategic dialogue for the first time in the alliance's 53-year history, a senior NATO official said yesterday.
The Chinese ambassador to Belgium, Guan Chengyuan, met NATO Secretary-General George Robertson on Oct. 10 and asked to begin regular contacts on strategic concepts, common threats and NATO activities in Central Asia, the official said.
Another official said Mr. Robertson had reported the Chinese approach to the 19 NATO members who still were considering how to respond and had not made a formal decision.

Pope delivers speech to Italian parliament
ROME Pope John Paul II delivered a historic speech to the Italian Parliament yesterday, urging Italians to have more children to reverse the country's declining birthrate.
It was the first time a pope had addressed Italy's legislature. In the speech, the pontiff also called on authorities to show prisoners "a gesture of clemency" by reducing their sentences.

U.S. envoy pushes decision on Cyprus
ATHENS The Cyprus problem must be settled before an EU summit in Copenhagen in December in order to facilitate the divided island's accession to the European Union, U.S. envoy Thomas Weston said late yesterday.
"We attach a great deal of urgency to a solution now, there is no question about that," he said following talks with Greek Foreign Minister Georges Papandreou.
He said if a solution can be found before the Copenhagen summit, a united Cyprus will join the EU. Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Weston met for 1 hours to discuss a plan for the island put forward by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The U.N. chief suggested setting up a Swiss-style confederation with two equal component states within the European Union.

Nuclear material stolen in Russia
MOSCOW Several pounds of low-enriched uranium and a few ounces of weapons-grade material have been stolen from various Russian nuclear sites over the past decade, a top Russian official said yesterday.
The head of the federal nuclear- and radioactive-security oversight agency said new investments were needed to strengthen safeguards at Russia's nuclear sites and keep the dangerous material out of the wrong hands.
"There have been cases of 'leakage'" over the past decade, Yury Vishnyevsky said, using a term for stolen material. He said the losses were recorded most frequently at secretive industrial plants.

Israeli troops capture kibbutz attack leader
NABLUS, West Bank Israeli troops captured the suspected mastermind of a shooting attack on an Israeli kibbutz in his West Bank hide-out yesterday, and seized suspected weapons makers in the deepest raid into Gaza City in two years.
The West Bank fugitive, Mohammed Naefe, surrendered after his hide-out in the town of Tulkarm was surrounded by troops, the military said.
In the Gaza City incursion, Israeli forces backed by about 30 armored vehicles and three helicopters stormed a home and seized four brothers of the Meqdad family on suspicion they manufactured and distributed mortar rounds.

French police storm church, evict migrants
CALAIS, France French police stormed a Calais church yesterday to end a five-day occupation by migrants and evict some 100 Iraqi Kurds and Afghans in a dawn raid that caught most inside asleep.
The migrants, who came to Calais hoping to sneak through the nearby Channel Tunnel and claim asylum in Britain, occupied the Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul church on Saturday and threatened to commit suicide rather than be evicted.
The prefecture of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais county said the migrants were taken to police stations and would be told they either could apply for asylum in France or face deportation.


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