- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2004


Poll casts doubt on reunification plan

NICOSIA — Most Greek Cypriots would reject any plan that comes out of the current round of talks seeking to reunite the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, according to a poll published yesterday.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders are discussing a U.N. plan to reunite the island in time for it to enter the European Union on May 1, but the poll showed 61 percent of those from the Greek section of the island felt the U.N. blueprint was not viable.

The U.N. blueprint has come under attack in some Greek Cypriot quarters for limitations on people’s rights to return to homes they fled when the island was divided in 1974.


Taliban Mickey offends people

EDINBURGH — A soft sculpture of Mickey Mouse flying an airplane toward flaming, crying World Trade Center towers has caused a stir at a college art exhibit.

Alan Bennie, a student of the Edinburgh College of Art, titled his work about the September 11 terror attacks “Mickey’s Taliban Adventures.”

One museum director has called the work “dreadful.” The exhibitions coordinator at the Royal Scottish Academy defended it as “social and political comment.”

The work, made of stuffed fabric, shows the Disney icon flying a plane near the leaning towers of the World Trade Center — depicted with eyes and eyebrows.


Security tightened after terrorist threat

TOKYO — Japan intensified security at airports, nuclear plants and government facilities yesterday as a precaution against a possible terror attack, a National Police Agency official said.

The government’s heightened alert sent a shiver through global financial markets, knocking the Japanese yen to 10-week lows against the dollar.

The National Police Agency official refused to discuss whether the government had new information about a possible terror strike.


Canada judge tapped for human rights post

NEW YORK — Canadian Judge Louise Arbour, the former U.N. war crimes prosecutor, was chosen as the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, the United Nations announced yesterday.

The appointment of Judge Arbour, a Canadian Supreme Court justice, still has to be approved by the U.N. General Assembly, but consent was virtually certain after leaders of regional groups were consulted in advance.

Judge Arbour was not expected to give up her post on the Canadian Supreme Court until late June to begin her new job, said Fred Eckhard, U.N. spokesman.


Man executed for mishap cover-up

BEIJING — A former Communist Party official was executed Friday for trying to cover up a tin mine accident that killed 81 persons in 2001, the government announced.

Wan Ruizhong, a former county party secretary in the southern region of Guangxi, was convicted of taking bribes from mine managers to conceal the July 17, 2001, accident. Other officials convicted in the disaster have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

The government says miners at the Lajiapo mine drowned when blasting ripped open a hole in a wall separating them from an unused shaft filled with water. The death toll was high even by the standards of China’s accident-plagued mining industry.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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