- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2003

ISRAELSharon ready for talks with SyriaJERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that he is ready to reopen peace talks with Syria without preconditions, three years after contacts collapsed over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.”I am ready to hold negotiations with any Arab nation, including Syria, without preconditions,” Mr. Sharon said in a taped interview on Israeli television.Syria has insisted any negotiations be based on the outcome of previous diplomacy and U.N. resolutions calling for the return of territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war — terms rejected by the Jewish state.A source in Mr. Sharon’s office has said Syria had approached Israel secretly about resuming peace talks before the war on Iraq began. CANADAAngry province plans review of Ottawa tiesST JOHN’S, Newfoundland — Canada’s eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador, angered by Ottawa’s decision to close the Atlantic cod fishery, proposed changes to the agreement binding it to Canada.Ottawa decided last month to close the cod industry, arguing it was essential to give fish stocks a chance to recover.Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, it signed the Terms of Union, handing management of the rich cod fishery to Ottawa.MOROCCOPrince’s birth marked with 9,000 pardonsRABAT — King Mohammed of Morocco celebrated the birth of a son and heir yesterday by ordering the release of more than 9,000 prisoners from Morocco’s crowded jails, one of the biggest royal pardons in the country’s history.A Moroccan Royal Palace communique announced the birth to the royal couple of a son, Moulay El Hassan (Prince Hassan), in Rabat, and said mother and baby were in good health. The prince is the couple’s first child and the heir to the throne.The official Morocco News Agency said King Mohammed, 39, had decided to free 9,459 prisoners, including 293 foreigners, and to reduce the jail sentences of 38,529 to celebrate his son’s birth. SIERRA LEONEPresident confirms warlord is deadFREETOWN — Sierra Leone officials confirmed the body of a man killed by Liberian troops was that of warlord Sam Bockarie, President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah said yesterday.But the country’s international tribunal, which sought Mr. Bockarie for crimes against humanity, said it could not confirm his death and would withhold judgment.HUNGARY34 killed as train hits tourist busSIOFOK — A passenger train yesterday sliced through a bus full of mainly elderly German vacationers in Hungary yesterday, killing 33 of them and their driver.The Budapest-to-Nagykanizsa train hit the bus around 8:35 a.m. at a level crossing near Siofok on Lake Balaton, Hungary’s leading tourist area, echoing a similar tragedy at the same place 21 years ago. The head of the local disaster unit said the bus driver had failed to heed red stoplights. The crossing, like many in Hungary, has no safety barriers.

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