- The Washington Times - Friday, September 3, 2004

SOUTH AFRICA

Businessman charged in nuke trafficking

VANDERBIJLPARK — The head of a South African engineering company was charged yesterday with trafficking in nuclear-related materials that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction.

Johan Meyer, 53, made a brief appearance at Vanderbijlpark Magistrates Court on charges of violating South Africa’s Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and Nuclear Energy Act.

Details were sketchy. But the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria said Mr. Meyer’s arrest was linked to international investigations into the network of Abdul Qadeer Khan who admitted in February to passing nuclear technology to other countries.

SOUTH KOREA

Government denies nuclear arms plan

SEOUL — Denying it has any nuclear weapons ambitions, South Korea insisted yesterday that a one-time uranium enrichment test by its scientists will not derail U.S.-led efforts to dismantle rival North Korea’s nuclear programs.

The denial — stated repeatedly during a government interview with foreign news media — came a day after South Korea acknowledged that its scientists conducted an unauthorized experiment in 2000 to enrich a small amount of uranium.

SAUDI ARABIA

Police officer killed in clash

RIYADH — One police officer was killed and three others wounded in a clash with militants in a town northeast of Riyadh and a number of suspects were arrested, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said yesterday.

Two police patrols checking a report that armed suspects were in a house in al-Baradah, 250 miles northeast of Riyadh, were attacked on Thursday, the official said, adding that large amounts of explosives and weapons were found.

BELGIUM

Malaria drug tested to fight SARS

BRUSSELS — The anti-malaria drug chloroquine could be used to treat the SARS respiratory illness that killed hundreds of people last year, virologists at the Belgian Catholic University of Leuven said yesterday.

A research team led by Marc Van Ranst of the university’s Rega Institute for Medical Research found chloroquine “is active against the SARS coronavirus in laboratory experiments.”

Nearly 800 people died from SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, after it emerged in southern China in late 2002. It infected 8,000 people in nearly 30 countries, devastating the airline and tourism industries.

GERMANY

Official calls Iraq war a ‘crime’

BERLIN — A German government minister came under fire yesterday for labeling the Iraq war “a true crime,” a remark that could reopen wounds between the United States and Germany.

Germany’s conservative opposition urged Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to reprimand Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, minister for economic cooperation and development, who said in a speech late Wednesday that the Iraq war caused terrible human suffering.

Government officials and Mr. Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party deputies defended her remarks.

Mr. Schroeder criticized U.S. steps against Iraq right until the war started. Tensions worsened when his justice minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, was reported to have compared President Bush’s political tactics with those of Adolf Hitler, which she partially denied.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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