- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

AZERBAIJAN

Women’s deaths take bird flu toll past 100

BAKU — Three young women in Azerbaijan have died from suspected bird flu, taking the death toll from the virus beyond 100, while secretive Burma yesterday tackled its first outbreak in birds.

Adding to fears over bird flu, India said it had detected a fresh outbreak in poultry in Maharashtra, the scene of the country’s first brush with the virus last month.

The United States, which has been spared bird flu, is treating it as a scourge that inevitably will reach its shores, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in Berlin yesterday.

UNITED NATIONS

Warming gases at record level

GENEVA — Greenhouse gases blamed for global warming and climate change have reached their highest levels in the atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organization said yesterday.

A bulletin from the United Nations agency said the gases — the main warming culprit carbon dioxide, as well as methane and nitrous oxide — “all reached new highs in 2004.”

Carbon dioxide, which the agency says accounts for 90 percent of warming in the past decade, is generated largely by human activity involving the burning of fossil fuels, including in industry, transport and domestic heating.

LEBANON

Assad, deputy to talk to U.N. investigators

NEW YORK — Syrian President Bashar Assad and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa have agreed to talk to officials conducting a U.N. inquiry into the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a report from the United Nations said yesterday.

The investigators are closer to understanding the circumstances surrounding the Feb. 14, 2005, assassination and suspect that some of the perpetrators may have been involved in previous terrorism, chief investigator Serge Brammertz said in his first report since taking over the probe.

FRANCE

Chirac supports youth job plan

BERLIN — French President Jacques Chirac offered “total and unreserved” support yesterday to his embattled prime minister, who faced new demonstrations against a youth job plan that protesters have vowed to defeat.

Hundreds of students gathered outside Paris’ Sorbonne University, where riot police evicted sit-in students during the weekend. The Sorbonne was the birthplace of a 1968 uprising that shook France.

The protests have disrupted half of France’s 80-odd universities and have mushroomed into the biggest test for Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in his 10 months in office.

AFGHANISTAN

Peacekeepers find huge weapons cache

KABUL — NATO peacekeepers in Afghanistan have found the biggest weapons cache in recent years, including 80 tons of TNT and 25,000 land mines, a NATO force spokeswoman said yesterday.

The cache was handed over to authorities in Sheberghan, in the Afghan north, under a drive to disarm illegal armed groups, the spokeswoman said.

The weapons were stored in old Soviet bunkers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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