- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

BRAZIL

Retaliation begins against Americans

BRASILIA — Brazil yesterday began fingerprinting and photographing U.S. visitors on orders of a judge who compared planned U.S. security controls on travelers from Brazil and other nations to Nazi horrors.

Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva, furious at U.S. plans to fingerprint and photograph millions of visitors on entering the United States, ordered Brazil’s authorities do the same to U.S. citizens starting yesterday.

“We’ve begun doing this,” said a Federal Police spokeswoman at Brazil’s Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo.

The judge’s order came after a Brazilian government citizens rights agency filed a complaint in federal court over the U.S. measure.

ALGERIA

Party’s rival factions urged to unite

ALGIERS — Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem has called on two rival factions in the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) to hold a “unifying” congress after months of acrimony dividing the party.

Mr. Belkhadem, who heads the FLN’s “reform faction” backing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, told a press conference this week that the party should hold an all-inclusive congress to heal the damaging rift in the party ahead of a presidential election in April.

He said the congress should bring together the “two wings” — his pro-Bouteflika faction and a rival faction backing Ali Benflis, Mr. Bouteflika’s former government chief whom he sacked in May.

SOUTH AFRICA

8 British tourists killed in crash

JOHANNESBURG — A minibus full of British and Canadian tourists headed to a scenic mountain area crashed, killing eight Britons and a pedestrian, police said yesterday.

The driver apparently lost control of the minibus when he swerved, trying to avoid the pedestrian, and overturned the vehicle, police Capt. Joshua Gwala said.

The tourists were heading to a camp in the Drakensberg mountain range, about 150 miles southwest of Johannesburg, said their London-based travel agency, Exodus Travels.

Two other Britons, a Canadian and their South African driver and tour guide were injured in the crash, said British High Commission spokesman Nick Sheppard.

IRELAND

Healing sought in trans-Atlantic ties

DUBLIN — Ireland assumed the presidency of the European Union yesterday, pledging to use its six-month term to heal trans-Atlantic ties with the United States that were strained by a series of disputes in 2003.

Differences over the Iraq war, Kyoto Protocol on climate change, steel tariffs, an enhanced European defense capability, and the International Criminal Court all took their toll on U.S.-EU relations last year.

“We will place a particular emphasis on trans-Atlantic relations,” Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said, signaling his intention to mend fences. “We differ on some things [with the United States], but that’s not to say that we should not be working together.”

The trans-Atlantic alliance came under severe pressure when France and Germany opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq and millions of Europeans took to the streets in protest.

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