- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 4, 2005

UNITED NATIONS

Fired employee plans to appeal

NEW YORK — The first — and so far only — U.N. employee to be fired in connection with the Iraq “oil-for-food” scandal believes he’s being made the fall guy to protect top-level officials at the United Nations, Fox News reported yesterday.

The network posted a series of documents on its Web site, www.foxnews.com, that it said bolsters the claim by Joseph Stephanides that he was wrongly let go.

Mr. Stephanides, fired on Tuesday just a few months short of his planned retirement when he turns 60, said yesterday that he intends to appeal his dismissal.

BOLIVIA

President calls national assembly

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivia’s president yesterday called a constitutional assembly and a referendum over greater regional autonomies, meeting the key demands behind street protests that have virtually paralyzed La Paz for more than two weeks.

Hours after political parties in Congress failed to agree on the two items, President Carlos Mesa addressed the nation, saying he was issuing a decree to hold the assembly and the referendum on Oct. 16.

“The country is living a time of extreme urgency, an extremely dangerous situation,” the embattled president said. “The country is the subject of pressures and tensions that can make it explode.”

Massive street protests and road blockades have brought La Paz to a virtual standstill every day since May 16.

ARUBA

Alabama teen still missing

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — The mother of missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway called for more help from the United States in a massive search as police and volunteers in Aruba combed beaches and scrubland for a fifth consecutive day yesterday on the Dutch Caribbean island.

Volunteers put up posters throughout the island with a photo of Miss Holloway, 18, saying she was missing. But the wording on the posters was changed yesterday to add: “Kidnapped since 1:30 a.m. May 30.”

Authorities say there is no evidence that Miss Holloway was abducted, but police Commissioner Jan van der Straaten said “after four of five days, you are afraid a crime has been committed.”

TURKEY

Ankara to press on with EU bid

ANKARA, Turkey — Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday he was disappointed by the failure of European Union constitutional referendums, but Turkey was determined to press forward with its efforts to join the bloc.

Mr. Erdogan, speaking in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press in advance of a meeting at the White House with President Bush, also said he expected EU countries to back Turkey’s membership when the country completed its reforms.

In 10 to 15 years, the EU “will be a place where civilizations meet,” he said. ” … It will become a global power with Turkey’s accession.”

NEPAL

Wedding on top of the world

KATMANDU, Nepal — Two Nepalese climbers were on top of the world this week — not only because they reached the peak of Mount Everest, but because they got married there in what was believed to be the first wedding on the summit.

It was a brief ceremony with no procession, champagne or band — only piles of snow and a breathtaking panorama for bride Moni Mulepati, 24, and groom Pem Dorjee, 23, as they exchanged their vows at 29,035 feet on Monday.

“We were there only for 10 minutes, just enough for us to get married and our friends to take pictures of us,” the bride told the Associated Press yesterday.

POLAND

John Paul’s secretary now top Krakow cleric

WARSAW — Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, personal secretary and close friend to the late Pope John Paul II, was named the archbishop of Krakow yesterday, the Vatican’s representative to Poland said.

Archbishop Dziwisz, 66, takes over the position once held by the late pope, said Jozef Trela, secretary to papal nuncio Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk.

He replaces the popular Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, 78, who asked to retire three years ago because of his age, but stayed on at the request of John Paul.


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