- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005


Parliament reverses electoral law change

BAGHDAD — Under U.S. and U.N. pressure, Iraq’s Shi’ite-led parliament yesterday reversed its last-minute electoral law changes, which would have ensured passage of a new constitution via a referendum but which the United Nations called unfair.

Sunni Arab leaders who had threatened a boycott because of the changes said they were satisfied with the reversal and were now mobilizing to defeat the charter at the polls. But some warned they could still call a boycott to protest major U.S. offensives launched over the past week in western Iraq, the Sunni heartland.

Also yesterday, a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at the entrance of a Shi’ite mosque south of Baghdad. At least 25 persons were killed and 87 wounded as hundreds of worshippers gathered for prayers at the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan and for the funeral of a man killed two days ago in a bomb blast at his restaurant.


Toll from storm climbs to about 120

SAN SALVADOR — Tropical Storm Stan reached hurricane strength only briefly, but killed about 120 people in Central America and Mexico, and relentless rains yesterday fueled fears of further devastation.

The storm is blamed for 50 deaths in El Salvador, 50 in Guatemala, 11 in Nicaragua and eight in Mexico.


Mystery disease claims more lives

TORONTO — An outbreak of a respiratory illness at a Toronto nursing home for the elderly has claimed six more lives, raising the death toll to 16, health officials said yesterday.

The cause of the outbreak at the Seven Oaks Home for the Aged remains unknown, although officials insisted the situation was under control. Thirty-eight persons were hospitalized with the illness, and officials fear many of them are too frail to fully recover.

Public health officials have ruled out influenza, avian flu, SARS and Legionnaires’ disease.


Khodorkovsky counsel’s offices raided

MOSCOW — Kremlin agents have raided the offices of lawyers representing Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the imprisoned former head of now bankrupt OAO Yukos energy company.

The pre-dawn raids took place early today, Moscow time, and targeted facilities used by Anton Drel, personal legal counsel to Khodorkovsky, in the Moscow suburb of Zhukovka, Interfax reported.


Fossils reveal flying reptiles

LONDON — Remains of two new species of 120-million-year-old flying reptiles have been found in a fossil rich area of northeastern China, an international team of scientists said yesterday.

The creatures belong to a group of reptiles called pterosaurs, or winged lizards. The fossils of the species were unearthed at Jehol in the west of Liaoning Province in China.


Young generation best educated ever

NEW YORK — Today’s youths make up the best educated generation in history even though 130 million are still illiterate, says a U.N. report that urges greater investment to ensure universal primary schooling.

The U.N. “World Youth Report 2005,” which provided a snapshot of the 1.2 billion people ages 15 to 24, found that more than 500 million youths live on less than $2 a day and a record 88 million are unemployed.


Berries, oregano zap seafood bug

PARIS — Oregano and cranberries are potent antibacterial agents, capable of killing a food-poisoning germ that inhabits seafood, New Scientist says.

The two plants have phenolic compounds that disrupt the cell walls of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bug that causes two-day bouts of stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.

University of Massachusetts researchers made the discovery by testing a 50/50 mixture of extract of oregano and cranberries on cod fillets and shrimps that they had infected with the microbe.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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