- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 14, 2004


Cooperation pledged in oil-for-food probe

NEW YORK — Two companies involved in the multibillion-dollar U.N. oil-for-food program for Iraq said yesterday they are cooperating with U.S. and U.N. investigations into suspected corruption, hoping to clear their names.

Swiss-based Cotecna Inspection S.A., which the United Nations hired in 1998 to authenticate that goods entering Iraq corresponded to a list of those approved for import, said it welcomes the opportunity “to set the record straight.”

The Dutch company Saybolt International B.V., which monitored oil exports from Iraq, said it was “happy” to help with the investigations into its operations.

Saddam Hussein is believed to have siphoned off $10 billion from the oil-for-food program.


Official quits amid crime wave

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s public security minister resigned yesterday, less than two months after a quarter of a million Mexicans marched to protest lawlessness in one of the world’s most crime-ridden countries.

Alejandro Gertz left the government of President Vicente Fox, a presidential spokesman said, but gave no explanation for the resignation.

In the biggest demonstration in Mexico in more than 10 years, about 250,000 people dressed in white marched through the capital on June 27 to protest the failure of authorities to control soaring rates of kidnappings and other violent crime.


Terrorism suspect to remain in jail

LONDON — A judge yesterday ordered that a British man wanted in the United States on suspicion of aiding terrorists be held for 28 more days as attorneys prepare for an extradition hearing.

Judge Christopher Pratt at Bow Street Magistrates Court ordered that Babar Ahmad, whom U.S. authorities have accused of using U.S.-based Web sites to recruit fighters and raise support for Taliban forces in Afghanistan, remain in custody pending a hearing Sept. 10.

Ahmad, 30, was arrested in London on Aug. 4 on a U.S. extradition warrant from a federal judge in Connecticut.


Crash fuels demands for U.S. withdrawal

TOKYO — A U.S. military helicopter crashed and caught fire yesterday on a university campus in southern Japan, grazing a building on its descent and injuring all three crew members, officials and witnesses said.

After the midday accident, residents and opposition lawmakers demanded that the aircraft’s base, Futenma Air Station, be moved from their congested neighborhood. The helicopter crashed at Okinawa International University, next to Futenma in Ginowan city on the southern island of Okinawa.

Tokyo and Washington agreed in 1996 to move Futenma Air Station from Ginowan to a less-populated area. However, relocating to a proposed offshore site near the Okinawa city of Nago has been stalled by protests from Nago residents.


Defense minister says troops to stay in Iraq

PARTENIT — Ukraine’s defense minister said yesterday his country will maintain its military force in Iraq for the foreseeable future, contrary to his earlier suggestion that the force might be reduced or withdrawn.

Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk said the force would stay close to its current level of 1,600 soldiers. His comments came in a press conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in this resort town on the coast of the Black Sea.

Ukrainian troops constitute the fourth largest contingent of allied soldiers aiding the large U.S. force in reconstruction and security efforts in Iraq. They are involved primarily in training Iraqi security forces.

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