- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Center-left leads in new German poll

BERLIN German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's center-left Social Democrats have overtaken the opposition conservative Christian Democrats for the first time since January, an opinion poll published yesterday showed.

The poll conducted by Infratest Dimap for ARD television showed the SPD, buoyed in recent weeks by the government's handling of massive floods last month and opposition to war in Iraq, up 1 point from last week to 39 percent. Germans go to the polls Sept. 22.

The survey found that Bavarian politician Edmund Stoiber's conservative coalition had fallen 1.5 points to 38 percent, while the liberal Free Democrats were unchanged 8.5 percent. The Greens, the SPD's junior coalition partners, held firm at 7.5 percent.

Switzerland joins United Nations

GENEVA Handing out chocolate and special-issue Swatches, the Swiss opened ceremonies yesterday to end decades of splendid isolation and follow the rest of the world into the United Nations.

But in a final gesture of independence, they made it clear they would not change their flag.

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to formally admit Switzerland as its 190th member during a ceremony in New York today. To the accompaniment of the Swiss Army Band, the country's flag, a white cross on red background, will then be hoisted to flutter as a lone square among the sea of rectangles.

"Finally Switzerland will be at home as a member of the U.N. family," said Bertrand Louis, ambassador to U.N. offices in Geneva.

Indian train derails; sabotage suspected

NEW DELHI A luxury express train jumped the tracks in eastern India with one coach landing in a river and three hanging off a bridge. Dozens of passengers were feared dead, railway officials said early today.

The air-conditioned Rajdhani Express, heading to New Delhi from the eastern city of Calcutta, jumped the tracks on a bridge near the town of Gaya in the eastern state of Bihar late yesterday.

Authorities are still investigating, but Indian Junior Railway Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the crash may have been caused by sabotage.

South Korea's Kim taps prime minister

SEOUL President Kim Dae-jung nominated a former justice minister for prime minister today as part of efforts to revamp his battered South Korean government before the December presidential elections.

Kim Suk-soo, 50, was the third nomination in just over a month and must be approved by the opposition-controlled National Assembly. The parliament had rejected the president's two earlier nominees for ethical and other problems.

South Korea has had no prime minister since July, when Prime Minister Lee Han-dong was removed in a Cabinet shake-up.

Bus crash kills 45 in Egypt

CAIRO Seventeen Egyptians drowned and 28 others were believed dead yesterday, after their bus plunged into a Nile canal in southern Egypt after colliding with another bus, police said.

Police said they recovered 17 bodies from the irrigation canal four hours after the crash occurred at 3:40 p.m. near the village of El Fant, 96 miles south of Cairo, in the Beni Suef province.

About 45 persons were on the bus that was heading to Cairo when it crashed head-on with a similar one, where the police officer reported 37 persons injured, including four children.

Nepal targets rebels in counterattack

KATMANDU, Nepal Royal Nepalese Army soldiers staged a counterattack yesterday after Maoist guerrillas killed at least 57 soldiers and policemen in a mountainous area overnight, a government minister said.

Devendra Raj Kadel, the junior interior minister, said the army was fighting near Sandhikhara, about 190 miles west of Katmandu, where rebels killed 40 police and 17 soldiers hours earlier in their deadliest assault since the government lifted a state of emergency two weeks ago.

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