- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

COSTA RICA

New OAS chief asked to resign over scandal

SAN JOSE — Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco yesterday called for the resignation of the new secretary-general of the Organization of American States because of accusations of corruption.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, a former president of Costa Rica, was elected to lead the OAS last month.

Costa Rican prosecutors are investigating whether Mr. Rodriguez received a kickback from a French telecommunications firm, Alcatel, for a $149 million government contract awarded in 2001 when Mr. Rodriguez was president.

HAITI

Death toll rises from tropical storm

GONAIVES — The toll of dead and missing people from floods unleashed by Tropical Storm Jeanne was more than 2,000, officials said yesterday, as aid workers planned to increase distributions of food to thousands of hungry and homeless survivors.

Officials still were trying to determine the number of dead.

Late Sunday, civil-protection agency spokesman Dieufort Deslorges said hundreds more bodies had been found, raising the death toll to 1,970.

SUDAN

Darfur crisis predicted to get worse

GENEVA — The crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, where more than 1 million people have fled their homes to escape violence, will worsen, and the death toll could hit 300,000 this year, a senior U.S. official said yesterday.

Although the United Nations and humanitarian agencies speak of 50,000 dead from fighting, hunger and disease, the coordinator of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s humanitarian program said the figure was guesswork.

“The crisis has not yet peaked. We have not yet seen the worst in Darfur,” said William Garvelink.

The agency said in April that between 80,000 and 300,000 people could die, depending on how much access international aid workers had to those in need.

DENMARK

Nation seeks to huntfor oil in North Pole

COPENHAGEN — Denmark aims to claim the North Pole and hunt for oil in high Arctic regions that might become more accessible because of global warming, the Science Ministry said yesterday.

It said Denmark will send an expedition to try to prove that the seabed beneath the Pole is a natural continuation of Greenland, the world’s biggest island and a Danish territory whose northern tip is 450 miles from the Pole.

Science Minister Helge Sander said last week that success would give Denmark access to “new resources such as oil and natural gas.”

The Danish bid rests on a U.N. convention allowing coastal nations to claim rights to offshore seabed resources.

SYRIA

Cabinet shuffleelevates general

DAMASCUS — President Bashar Assad shuffled his Cabinet yesterday, introducing broad changes that affected a third of his ministers.

Ghazi Kenaan, 62, until two years ago Syria’s top intelligence general in neighboring Lebanon, was named interior minister, the government announced. He had been in charge of Syrian affairs in Lebanon for two decades.

Mahdi Dakhlallah, who for the past two years has been editor in chief of the al-Ba’ath newspaper, was named information minister. Mr. Dakhlallah, 57, served for 19 years in the studies department of the Ba’ath Party.

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