- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2003


IAEA head warns of nuclear emergency

VIENNA, Austria — The head of the U.N. nuclear-watchdog agency said yesterday that a nuclear-contamination emergency might be developing in Iraq and appealed to the United States to let his experts back into the country.

“I am deeply concerned by the almost daily reports of looting and destruction at nuclear sites,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in a statement.

The U.N. agency has said stolen radioactive material could end up in the hands of terrorists who could use it to make dirty bombs, which combine radioactive material with a conventional explosive such as dynamite.


OAS condemnation reduced to ‘concern’

A U.S.-backed statement condemning human rights violations in Cuba was withdrawn yesterday at the Organization of American States after not garnering enough support from its members.

Canada, Chile and Uruguay, the countries that introduced the statement, opted against forcing a potentially divisive vote at an institution with a strong tradition of reaching decisions by consensus.

Instead, they resubmitted the text, which expressed “deep concern about the sharp deterioration of the human rights situation in Cuba,” as a nonbinding statement to the group’s Permanent Council. It was signed by 16 of the OAS’s 34 members.


WHO warns of more disease outbreaks

GENEVA — The world must tighten defenses against infectious diseases because there will be more deadly outbreaks like SARS, World Health Organization officials said yesterday.

A new influenza pandemic, similar to those that killed millions in the 20th century, is overdue, and countries have to be ready, David Heymann, WHO head of communicable diseases, said.

The World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the 192 WHO member states, will debate during its 10-day session that began yesterday new rules on improving surveillance and the exchange of information on disease outbreaks.


Australian missionary found beheaded

HONIARA — An Australian missionary was beheaded in the Solomon Islands in the latest killing in the lawless and impoverished South Pacific island nation, police said yesterday.

Lance Gersbach, 60, was working alone on a building site at a Seventh-day Adventist mission at Atoifi on the island of Malaita when he was attacked Sunday.

It was not immediately known what the motive for the crime was or who was responsible.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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