- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2003


Sharon rejects call to stop erecting wall

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday rejected his Palestinian counterpart’s demand that Israel stop building a barrier through the West Bank as a condition for peace talks.

But a U.S. envoy, trying to revive a stalled “road map” to peace, said he was hopeful a meeting could still be arranged between Mr. Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, and he urged both sides to keep existing promises.

“I hereby notify you that no condition shall be accepted … regarding the cessation of the fence, dismantling of the fence and other fabrications,” Mr. Sharon was quoted as saying at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.


U.N.’s AIDS relief going to world’s poor

NAIROBI — The United Nations announced plans today to rush life-saving antiretroviral AIDS drugs to 3 million of the world’s poor in a $5.5 billion emergency strategy to fight a disease now killing 8,000 a day.

“The lives of millions of people are at stake. This strategy demands massive and unconventional efforts to make sure they stay alive,” the World Health Organization director general said in a statement to mark World Aids Day.

The world body announced last week that 40 million people around the world are infected with HIV, and that the global AIDS epidemic shows no signs of abating.


Training is to begin for 500 Iraqi police

AMMAN — Jordan will start training a first group of Iraqi police today as part of efforts to bring stability to its Arab neighbor, the official news agency Petra said yesterday.

“Tomorrow 500 Iraqi men, 294 of whom arrived yesterday and the rest of whom are due to arrive later today, will begin a training course in the fields of the Public Security Department,” Petra reported.

Quoting Chief of the Public Security Department Gen. Tahseen Shurdum, Petra said the training was part of a two-year program to coach about 32,000 Iraqi recruits. Gen. Shurdum estimated each eight-week training course would include 3,000 Iraqi recruits.


Police join crackdown in key cocoa region

GAGNOA — Scores of riot police wearing flak jackets and carrying assault rifles entered Ivory Coast’s troubled western cocoa region yesterday as security forces cracked down on deadly ethnic clashes.

About 100 police arrived in Gagnoa as soldiers fanned out into the nearby bush for “mopping up” operations. Clashes between local Bete tribesmen and imported farm workers left at least six dead last week.

The clashes are part of a wider cycle of violence over cocoa plantations in the world’s top grower, where a civil war last year inflamed ethnic tensions.


Schroeder and Chirac share sumo passion

BERLIN — Whenever the leaders of Germany and France meet these days, they discuss a new shared passion for the ancient sport of Japanese sumo wrestling, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s wife said yesterday.

Mr. Schroeder “doesn’t like watching just soccer [on television] but recently took up a real interest in sumo wrestling,” Doris Schroeder-Koepf told German television.

French President Jacques Chirac “is a real expert on sumo,” she said, referring to Mr. Chirac’s long-standing interest in Japanese culture. “The two of them are always talking about sumo now whenever they meet.”

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