- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

CYPRUS
Turkey urges new policy on island
ANKARA, Turkey The leader of Turkey's ruling party said his country should reconsider its long-standing hard-line policy on Cyprus, and accused the Turkish-Cypriot leader of ignoring public calls to reunite the divided island.
The call by Recep Tayyip Erdogan represents a radical shift for Turkish politicians, who have rarely expressed dissent from Turkey's seemingly unconditional support for Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
"I'm not in favor of the continuation of the policy that has been maintained in Cyprus over the past 30 to 40 years," Mr. Erdogan was quoted as saying late Wednesday.
The island has been divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion sparked by a coup in favor of union with Greece.

FRANCE
Gooey oil fouls beach
CAP FERRET French authorities closed some beaches yesterday after gooey black patches of oil began washing up on France's sandy southwestern coast this week from a sunken and leaking tanker off Spain.
So far, there has been no major damage to the French coast, but French officials were bracing for the possibility that larger oil slicks would reach shore soon.
The oil is from the aging, single-hulled Prestige oil tanker, which broke in two and sank off Spain's coast Nov. 19.

JAPAN
New Year's ritual deadly for elderly
TOKYO Six elderly Japanese died and 25 others were hospitalized in Tokyo after choking on gooey rice cakes during the New Year's holidays. Twelve others were in comas.
Every year, a handful of mostly elderly Japanese suffer after getting "mochi" rice cakes stuck in their throats. Mochi are usually served grilled and wrapped in dried seaweed, or in a broth.

PAKISTAN
Border guard nabbed for shooting American
KABUL, Afghanistan A Pakistani border guard who shot an American soldier in the head near Afghanistan's volatile eastern border is in the custody of Pakistani authorities, a U.S. military official said yesterday.
The wounded American, who was treated at a military hospital in Germany, is in stable condition, U.S. military spokeswoman Master Sgt. Kelly Tyler said.

BURMA
Dissident backed by United States
The State Department yesterday criticized what it called harassment by government-affiliated groups in Burma of democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Spokesman Richard Boucher said the harassment occurred during a recent trip Mrs. Suu Kyi made outside the capital.
"The United States calls on the Burma regime to ensure that all political parties can carry their message to the Burma people in safety," he said.

IVORY COAST
Government troops attack fishing village
ABIDJAN France condemned a deadly helicopter assault by Ivory Coast government troops on a river fishing village in the former French colony, saying yesterday that the attack was an "intolerable" violation of the cease-fire brokered with rebels.
French troops enforcing an October truce confirmed that a helicopter fired on dugout canoes and a market in Menakro. In a statement issued in Paris, the French Foreign Ministry said the attack Tuesday killed 12 civilians and injured several more.
Rebel leader Guillaume Soro said two Mi-24 helicopters piloted by white mercenaries fired rockets and heavy arms at the village, destroying houses and killing people, including women and children. He put the number of dead at 14.


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