- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

HUNGARY
Official criticizes U.S. overflight
BUDAPEST Hungary's defense minister criticized the overflight of U.S. military aircraft for a purpose other than authorized yesterday, calling it a violation of the country's sovereignty.
"Hungary's sovereignty has been violated," Defense Minister Ferenc Juhasz told parliament's defense committee during an extraordinary session.
In a letter sent Friday, the United States apologized for the Feb. 20 flight of six U.S. Army helicopters and a tanker aircraft, supposed to be on their way to Afghanistan, to a military base in Constanta, Romania, "to help ongoing U.S. maneuvers there," Mr. Juhasz said.
Hungary, a NATO member since 1999, approved the transit of U.S. military equipment and troops for the defense of Turkey under last week's decision of NATO's Defense Planning Committee in a parliamentary vote Monday.

THE NETHERLANDS
Poultry exports halted over bird flu fears
AMSTERDAM The Dutch government banned all exports of poultry and related farm products yesterday after what they suspect is an outbreak of bird flu on six Dutch farms.
The Agriculture Ministry ordered farmers to keep chickens and other birds inside, and prohibited the transport or sale of eggs, poultry or animal feed. The infections are believed to be in the villages Scherpenzeel, Renswoude and Barneveld, in the eastern province of Gelderland, near the German border.
Avian influenza generally infects only birds, but there have been isolated cases when humans contracted the disease. The most recent was in Hong Kong last month when a boy and his father became sick after having been in direct contact with sick birds.

ITALY
Town tempts Saddam with exile offer
ROME Desperate to avoid war in the Persian Gulf, a small Italian town is offering Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his family exile and round-the-clock security from its three police officers.
Saddam and his family can live in a recently renovated building in the center of town, said Mayor Mario Caligiuri of Soveria Mannelli in the southern region of Calabria.
He said the 3,500 residents of the town, tucked in the foot of the boot-shaped country, would be happy to have Saddam as their neighbor. He said the town would contact the Iraqi Embassy in Rome to make a formal offer.

Weekly notes
A 97-year-old Italian woman has received about 900 traffic tickets for fines as much as $132,200 for driving a Ferrari and other cars, and a motorcycle around the historic center of Rome without the necessary permit. The only catch is she has never learned to drive, let alone owned a car. The mystery was solved when Rome police detained three men, one of them a family friend, for fraudulently registering the vehicles in the pensioner's name. … Spain's tourist board has temporarily withdrawn an ad showing a woman's half-naked bottom marked by the suntan outline of a thong with the slogan "Spain marks," after a deluge of complaints that it was sexist. … Princess Anne, the only daughter of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, suffered a minor injury when a branch she trimmed from a tree hit her in the face, Buckingham Palace said Wednesday. Anne was pruning trees at her Gatcombe Park estate near Stroud in Gloucestershire, western England, when the accident happened.

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