- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 1, 2003

CYPRUS
Leaders to decide on public referendums
NICOSIA Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders promised to decide by March 10 whether to hold public referendums on a United Nations plan to reunify their divided island, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday.
Mr. Annan, on a three-day visit to Cyprus, proposed the idea of referendums on both sides of the island after it became clear the leadership of neither side would accept his plan without further changes.
The U.N. chief wants a quick resolution so a reunited Cyprus can sign the treaty of accession to the European Union on April 16, opening the way for it to join the bloc next year. EU leaders have said they would fully accept only the Greek side if the island is not reunited.

AUSTRIA
Conservatives renew coalition with far right
VIENNA The conservative People's Party of Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and the far-right Freedom Party formerly led by firebrand Joerg Haider agreed yesterday to form a new governing coalition.
The previous ruling coalition between the two parties collapsed in September after an internal struggle within the anti-immigrant Freedom Party prompted key party members to resign.
In the elections on Nov. 24, Mr. Schuessel's party won 42 percent of the votes, the Social Democrats 37 percent, the Greens 9 percent and the Freedom Party 10 percent.

CZECH REPUBLIC
Vaclav Klaus elected president
PRAGUE Czech lawmakers elected opposition candidate Vaclav Klaus as president yesterday, state-run news agency CTK reported.
Mr. Klaus, a former prime minister, defeated ruling coalition candidate Jan Sokol, winning 142 votes in the 281-member parliament. He will replace former Czech President Vaclav Havel, whose last term in office ended Feb. 2. Mr. Havel was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term.
Yesterday's election was the third attempt to replace Mr. Havel, the dissident playwright who led the 1989 Velvet Revolution that peacefully toppled the communist regime.
In the two previous ballots, Mr. Klaus, 61, finished first, but failed to gain the majority required for a victory.

BRITAIN
Activists oppose cluster-bomb use
LONDON With war threatened in Iraq, activists yesterday began a global appeal for a ban on cluster bombs, many of whose victims are children not even born when the bombs were dropped.
Thousands of cluster bombs were dropped on Kosovo and Afghanistan, each containing about 200 "bomblets" of which up to 10 percent fail to detonate immediately and which, in effect, become land mines awaiting the unwary.
Unexploded bomblets designed to penetrate armor are still claiming lives in Kuwait 12 years after the Persian Gulf war. Three decades after the end of the Vietnam War, people are still being maimed and killed by long-forgotten cluster munitions.
The Clear Up campaign is spearheaded by Land Mine Action and the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

VATICAN CITY
Pope plans visit to Mongolia
A Vatican official said yesterday Pope John Paul II would go to Mongolia where the main religion is Buddhism in August for the inauguration of a cathedral in its capital, Ulan Bator.
Vatican Radio said the Holy See's ambassador to Mongolia, Giovanni Battista Morandini, told a news conference in Ulan Bator the pope would travel at the end of August.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the president of Mongolia had invited the pope during a visit to the Vatican in 2000.

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