- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2003

TURKEY

Death penalty abolition ratified

ANKARA — Turkey formally confirmed yesterday its abolition of the death penalty in peacetime, drawing praise from the Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights watchdog.

Turkey’s parliament abolished capital punishment in August 2002, under pressure from the European Union to improve its human rights record as a condition for being considered for EU membership, but yesterday’s move marked its final ratification.

The 45-member Council of Europe hailed the move.

THAILAND

AIDS vaccine fails large-scale trial

NEW YORK — VaxGen Inc. announced that its preventive AIDS vaccine candidate, AIDSVAX, although safe, did not prove effective in a large-scale human trial conducted in Thailand over the past four years. This confirms the results, announced in February, of a companion North America-Europe large-scale trial of AIDSVAX.

AIDSVAX, the first and only preventive AIDS vaccine candidate to be tested in a large-scale human trial, was designed to prevent people who are uninfected with HIV/AIDS from contracting the disease. Expert consensus is that a preventive vaccine is the best hope to end the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, now infecting 15,000 people each day.

UKRAINE

‘No chance’ Kuchma will run again

KIEV — Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said yesterday there was “no chance” he would run again, as parliament considers constitutional changes to its relationship with the head of state.

Mr. Kuchma, in power since 1994, rejected any suggestion that parliament elect the head of state, aiming to defuse opposition worries he could change the law to remain in power.

Mr. Kuchma insisted he would step down as president next year at the end of his second term, which is the maximum currently allowed by law.

LIBERIA

Ex-L.A. cop to train police

MONROVIA — A former Los Angeles policeman pledged yesterday to rapidly build a new crime-fighting force in Liberia, where security agents have traditionally preyed on people they were supposed to protect.

The retraining of Liberian police is among the tasks of a U.N. force under an August peace deal meant to end nearly 14 years of violence in the West African country.

“This is not mission impossible,” said Mark Kroeker, a 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, who now heads the United Nations police unit in Liberia.

AFGHANISTAN

President warns of anniversary attacks

KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai said yesterday he expected guerrillas to step up attacks on the eve of the second anniversary of the collapse of Taliban rule.

A spokesman for the hard-line Islamic militia said it had carried out an attack on a Romanian patrol Tuesday that killed at least one soldier and wounded another.

Two years ago tomorrow, the Taliban fled Kabul under cover of darkness after weeks of aerial bombardment by U.S. forces.


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