- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2006

MEXICO

U.S. team trains border rescuers

LA TRINITARIA — A dozen members of the U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue Team, or BORSTAR, are working with Grupo Beta, a migrant-protection force here, as part of a two-week training program in rescue operations, medical assistance and immediate first aid for migrants in distress after crossing illegally into Mexico.

The operations in the Chiapas state town of La Trinitaria, near the border with Guatemala, are part of “a binational commitment to look at any and all possibilities to prevent the loss of human life,” said Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora. Twenty-four Mexican officials are participating.

Tens of thousands of illegal aliens, many of them from Central America, enter Mexico’s southern border annually on their way to the United States. Last year, 6,500 needed rescue or medical assistance.

IRAN

Danish pastries renamed in protest

TEHRAN — Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery, they now have to ask for “roses of the prophet Muhammad.”

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries yesterday after the confectioners union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet first published in a Danish newspaper.

IRAN

France suspects nuke weapons plan

PARIS — France yesterday accused Iran of pursuing a secret military nuclear program, drawing a swift rebuke from Tehran ahead of talks next week on a Russian proposal for resolving the dispute.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Iran’s nuclear work, which Tehran says aims to generate electricity, was unlikely to be designed for civilian uses alone.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, responded with a warning to the West not to hector Tehran, a heated exchange that boded ill for talks in Moscow on Monday on Russia’s offer to enrich Iranian uranium on its soil.

CHINA

Weekly to resume with new editors

BEIJING — A Chinese newspaper supplement known for hard-hitting coverage of sensitive issues will resume publishing more than a month after being shut down, but its two top editors have been fired, one of the editors said yesterday.

The closure of Bing Dian, a four-page weekly supplement of the China Youth Daily, last month was seen as part of the communist government’s efforts to tighten control over the press.

The reversal came after a group of Communist Party elders and scholars issued an almost unprecedented joint letter expressing support for Bing Dian and criticizing the government.

NORTH KOREA

Pageantry marks Kim’s birthday

PYONGYANG — North Korea marked the 64th birthday of leader Kim Jong-il yesterday with nationwide celebrations reasserting the strength of his regime and its ability to resist the United States.

Mass synchronized dances featuring women in brightly colored traditional Korean dresses were staged in the capital’s main square.

Mr. Kim’s birthday traditionally is treated as one of the most important national holidays, with citizens treated to propaganda spectacles.

BELGIUM

Parliament votes to ban cluster bombs

BRUSSELS — Belgium became the first country in the world to ban cluster bombs, a munition that has killed thousands of civilians, after a vote in Parliament yesterday.

The ban was approved 112-2 in the lower house of the assembly. The upper house approved it on July 7.

Cluster bombs are dropped from the air or fired by artillery, releasing numerous smaller devices — known as “submunitions.” The United States is thought to have about 1 billion cluster bombs in its arsenal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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