- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2004

MACEDONIA

Referendum fails with low turnout

SKOPJE — A referendum bid to reverse a law protecting the rights of Macedonia’s Albanian minority failed yesterday, upholding a peace plan brokered by the West that ended ethnic fighting in 2001.

Independent monitors said the turnout was 26.3 percent, half the 50 percent needed for a valid referendum.

The European Union and the United States had made it plain to Macedonians that their hopes for membership in the European bloc and NATO would suffer if the referendum passed. In a boost to moderates, Washington last week recognized the country’s chosen name “Macedonia.”

AUSTRALIA

Nuclear terror threat ‘real and current’

SYDNEY — Nuclear terrorism is a genuine threat and assumptions about how to control the spread of nuclear materials need to be overhauled, the head of the United Nations’ atomic energy agency warned today.

“The threat of nuclear terrorism is real and current,” Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a keynote speech at the start of a two-day conference in Sydney.

The agency’s work on suspected nuclear weapons programs in Libya and Iran had revealed an extensive black market for radioactive materials, with about 630 confirmed incidents of trafficking in nuclear or other radioactive materials since 1993, he said.

EGYPT

Palestinian meeting proposed for Cairo

CAIRO — Egypt said yesterday that it was likely to play host to Palestinian faction talks to draw up a council for running Palestinian affairs and the peace process with Israel.

“The Palestinian factions have to meet,” Safwat el-Sheriff, secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party, quoted President Hosni Mubarak as saying.

Egypt has been working on a plan to help Palestinians reorganize their security forces and reach a political agreement for cooperation among all the Palestinian factions after an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

LEBANON

Hezbollah flies drone into Israeli airspace

NAQOURA — The Hezbollah guerrilla group said yesterday that it sent a small reconnaissance drone into Israel for the first time in response to repeated Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.

Hezbollah said the drone reached Nahariya, before returning to its base, adding that it was the first of many planned flights.

Israel confirmed the drone had entered its territory, saying it “views gravely any infiltration into its sovereign territory from the air, sea or land and will act to ensure the security of its citizens.”

BURMA

Probe of army chiefs undid prime minister

RANGOON — The ruling junta has accused former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt of corruption and said he was ousted before he could reveal findings of an investigation of senior army commanders, official newspapers said.

Mr. Khin Nyunt, who also led Burma’s intelligence services, was fired Oct. 19 and is under house arrest. Authorities are investigating military intelligence officers and others suspected of having illegal dealings with businessmen.

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