- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2004

SUDAN

U.N. sanctions seen as not imminent

LONDON — A majority of U.N. Security Council members oppose immediate heavy sanctions on Sudan if it fails to quell ethnic violence in its western Darfur region by a deadline at the end of the month, Britain’s Foreign Office said yesterday.

Some countries opposed sanctions on principle; others feared that vested interests in Sudan would be damaged by economic embargoes; and others — including Britain — were wary of giving the impression that the “international community is beating up on the government of Sudan,” a senior official said.

On July 30, the Security Council gave Sudan 30 days to disarm the Arab militia, known as Janjaweed, or face economic or diplomatic punishment. More than 30,000 people have been killed and a million forced to flee their homes in Darfur.

BRITAIN

Cleric objects to prison food

LONDON — The attorney for a radical Muslim cleric fighting extradition to the United States on terrorism charges complained yesterday that the cleric and other Muslim prisoners were being offered spicy pork chops on their menus, even though pork is forbidden in Islam.

Attorney Muddassar Arani said cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who has lost both hands and an eye, has suffered declining health because of the lack of facilities for the disabled at Belmarsh high-security prison.

Al-Masri made a brief court appearance yesterday ahead of a full extradition hearing on Oct. 19. The former chief preacher at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque is accused by U.S. authorities of trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

SOUTH KOREA

U.S. troops talks end without accord

SEOUL — Top U.S. and South Korean defense officials failed yesterday to agree on a timeline for the planned reduction of American forces on the divided peninsula amid Seoul’s concerns the departing troops will weaken its defenses against North Korea.

The redeployment of some 12,500 troops away from South Korea is part of Pentagon plans for a worldwide realignment of American forces that President Bush has said would help the United States better respond to today’s threats.

At yesterday’s talks, the sides agreed that 3,600 U.S. troops who have already left here for Iraq would be part of the redeployment.

TANZANIA

Zanzibar bans homosexual sex

ZANZIBAR — Zanzibar has banned homosexual sex and set prison terms of up to 25 years for those who break the law, officials said yesterday.

The law sets a penalty of life imprisonment for sodomizing a minor. The penalty for homosexual sex between men is 25 years in prison; between women it is seven years. By comparison, rapists get 30 years in prison in Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous, predominantly Muslim archipelago that attracts tourists seeking to relax on its white beaches lapped by the Indian Ocean.

PORTUGAL

Plane avoids collision; 33 hurt

LISBON — Thirty-one TAP-Air Portugal passengers and two crew members were slightly injured when the plane made a hasty maneuver to avoid a midair collision just before landing on an island in the Azores yesterday, TAP said.

The incident happened at the airport at the U.S. Lages Air Base. The Airbus A-310 carrying 133 passengers was flying from Lisbon to Terceira, an Atlantic Ocean island that is part of the Portuguese archipelago the Azores. The airline had no information on the other plane.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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