- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 1, 2003


Businessman sentenced for arms-making exports

BERLIN A German businessman was sentenced to five years and three months in prison yesterday for exporting weapons-making material to Iraq in 1999, circumventing a U.N. embargo.

The court in Mannheim said Bernd Schompeter, 59, and co-defendant Willi Ribbeck, 54, were guilty of exporting drilling equipment that could be used to make artillery guns capable of firing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. The guns could also fire conventional weapons.

Ribbeck, a sales manager, received a two-year suspended sentence with probation.


WHO issues warning on food terrorism

GENEVA The World Health Organization said yesterday that terrorists could try to contaminate food with chemical, biological or radioactive agents and urged states to tighten their defenses.

It said such an attack could result in people dying, being paralyzed or contracting illnesses such as cancer.

The U.N. agency called on its 192 member governments and on industry to boost surveillance and emergency response measures to minimize the risk.


Transsexuals ruled ineligible for clergy

VATICAN CITY Transsexuals suffer from "mental pathologies," are ineligible for admission to Roman Catholic religious orders and should be expelled if they have already entered the priesthood or religious life, the Vatican says in new directives.

The Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent the directives to the superiors of religious orders worldwide.

The directives were the latest in a series of Vatican pronouncements on eligibility for the priesthood issued ahead of a long-awaited set of guidelines for seminaries in accepting candidates for the clergy.


2 Palestinians killed during Israeli raid

JERUSALEM Israeli undercover troops killed two Palestinians, including a fugitive Islamic militant, in a gun battle in the West Bank town of Jenin yesterday.

The 21-year-old fugitive Hamas activist was in a firehouse with two other armed men when Israeli forces surrounded them. Firefighters came out one by one, and the troops killed the Hamas activist as he ran out of the building shooting.

Firefights along the street left the fire station's walls and trucks scarred with bullet marks. Another man, a 52-year-old Palestinian security guard, was also killed in the exchange of fire.


'Group of friends' envoys meet Chavez, foes

CARACAS A six-nation "group of friends" pressed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his foes yesterday to settle their differences with the ballot box.

Envoys from the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Spain and Portugal talked with Mr. Chavez about the political deadlock behind the 2-month-old strike, which has pushed the world's No. 5 oil exporter deep into recession.

The deputy foreign ministers from the group, formed last month to tackle the Venezuelan crisis, were also meeting opposition leaders as part of their mission to help secure a peaceful solution through elections.


6 get prison terms for journalist's death

MAPUTO Six men were convicted yesterday and ordered jailed for more than 20 years for killing Mozambique's top investigative journalist, ending a trial that delved into a web of organized crime and corruption.

Carlos Cardoso, 49, was gunned down in a Maputo suburb in November 2000 while investigating the disappearance in 1996 of $14 million in privatization funds from one of the country's commercial banks.

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