- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 30, 2006


Natural-gas deal remains elusive

MINSK — Belarus said yesterday it was close to resolving a price dispute over natural gas with Russia that threatens to disrupt deliveries to Western Europe after tomorrow, but Russia’s giant gas monopoly said no deal was in sight.

The dispute between two former Soviet republics has revived memories of a similar Russian row with Ukraine last winter that briefly disrupted supplies to Western Europe. That development stirred an intense debate in Western Europe about the wisdom of increasing dependency on deliveries of Russian gas.

“We are offering to sign the deal for 2007, but Russia is putting pressure to have a deal for all four years,” Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said at a press conference. He said the two countries had agreed on a price of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas in 2007, up from $46 now.

In Moscow, Gazprom said there had been no agreement.

“We deny we have agreed to this price and many other things, which were said at a news conference in Minsk. Unfortunately, I cannot say we are nearing a deal,” said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov.


Woman, 67, is oldest known to give birth

BARCELONA — A 67-year-old Spanish woman has become the oldest known woman to give birth after the Barcelona Hospital de Sant Pau said yesterday she had given birth to twins by Caesarean section.

A hospital spokeswoman said that the unidentified woman and her offspring, whose sex was not revealed on grounds of patient confidentiality, were doing well.

According to Barcelona media outlet Catalunya Informacio, the babies, her first children, were still in an incubator after their birth late Friday.

The woman became pregnant after she received in-vitro fertilization treatment in South America.


Ethnic Albanian held on terrorism charges

BELGRADE — Serbian police have taken into custody an ethnic-Albanian man accused of terrorism in the breakaway province of Kosovo in 1999, the office of the war-crimes prosecutor said yesterday.

Sinan Morina, 34, was arrested in neighboring Montenegro on Thursday and transferred to prison in the central Serbian town of Pozarevac, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Mr. Morina was arrested on the basis of an indictment accusing him of committing “acts of terrorism” in the village of Opterusa in Kosovo during a 1998-99 ethnic-Albanian insurgency against Serbian forces.


Illegal aliens reach Spanish soil

MADRID — Nearly 200 illegal aliens reached Spain yesterday, half of them reaching the Canary Islands and the remainder getting to the southern region of Almeria on the mainland, emergency rescue officials said.

A record number of illegal aliens landed this year in the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago, after they arrived from West Africa.

More than 30,300 have been registered since January, more than three times the number in all of 2002, when a record 9,929 arrived. Unseasonably mild weather has encouraged aliens to continue risking their lives to reach Spanish soil.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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