- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 1, 2003

IRAQ
Sanctions take toll on boxing team
BAGHDAD Fourteen years of U.N. economic sanctions have dealt a near-knockout blow to Iraq's once-successful boxing team, but some Baghdad clubs hope to train a new generation of athletes despite less than ideal conditions.
"We were the boxing champions of the Arab world. We even had international champions, but now, instead of a team of 12, we only send five" to foreign competitions, said boxing trainer Faruq Janjoun.
Mr. Janjoun said the U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990 deprives the athletes of proper diets.

TURKEY
Erdogan permitted to run for office
ANKARA Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer approved yesterday a set of constitutional amendments paving the way for the ruling party's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to become prime minister.
The president had vetoed the reforms after the parliament, dominated by Mr. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), passed them in mid-December, arguing that they were tailored to serve a single individual.
But the parliament readopted the amendments last week, and under the constitution, Mr. Sezer had no option but to either approve them or call a referendum.
The amended provisions would allow Mr. Erdogan to stand in elections, an opportunity he was denied in elections on Nov. 3 because of a 1998 conviction for religious sedition. Under Turkish law, prime ministers must be members of parliament.

SYRIA
Banned-goods list for Iraq rapped
DAMASCUS Syria, a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, denounced yesterday the council's decision to expand the list of goods banned for export to Iraq, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
Resolution 1454, adopted Monday 13-0, with Syria and Russia abstaining, "deprives [Iraq] of humanitarian goods," SANA said.
Syria "wished the Security Council would take all the measures necessary to reduce the suffering of the Iraqi people, especially because Iraq is cooperating in an efficient and positive manner with [U.N.] disarmament experts," it added.
The resolution extended by 60 the list of goods banned for export to Iraq, which includes chemicals, drugs, electronic items and vehicles.

ISRAEL
Arab deputy seeks OK to run for re-election
JERUSALEM Arab Israeli parliamentarian Azmi Bishara yesterday made a plea to Israel's electoral committee to be allowed to run again in elections in January, denying having called for the destruction of the Jewish state, officials said.
Mr. Bishara, speaking a day after another leading Arab deputy was barred by the committee from standing for re-election, said he had "no illusions on the outcome of the debate," arguing that the odds were stacked against him.
The committee, dominated by nationalist right-wingers, decided Monday not to allow Ahmed Tibi, a deputy from another Arab party, to run again in the Jan. 28 elections.
The committee accused him of having "supported terrorist organizations which commit anti-Israeli attacks," sources said.

IRAN
Pollster goes to trial for survey on U.S.
TEHRAN The trial opened yesterday in an Iranian court for a pollster charged with acting against national security by publishing a survey showing that most Iranians wanted talks with arch-foe United States.
Behrouz Geranpayeh, a reformist and head of a polling company, is on trial with four others in the latest such case against pollsters.
The trials have become a new battleground between President Mohammed Khatami's reformists and powerful conservatives who have blocked his efforts to bring about a more open, responsible government in the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Geranpayeh was arrested and held in custody after the release of the survey in September. It showed that three-quarters of Iranians favored resumption of talks with the United States.


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