- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 18, 2007


Ban prods U.S. on arrears

NEW YORK — The U.S. Congress should authorize payment of peacekeeping arrears to the United Nations according to a deal worked out several years ago, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday.

The total American arrears for peacekeeping now stand at $540 million, U.N. figures show.

The General Assembly, after negotiations with Congress by former U.S. Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, agreed in 2000 to drop the U.S. assessment for peacekeeping gradually from 30 percent to the current 26.7 percent.

But despite the agreement, the Republican-dominated House refused to remove its prior spending cap of 25 percent on peacekeeping dues, which Mr. Ban said cost the United Nations $150 million to $200 million a year.

Mr. Ban, on his return from a two-day meeting in Washington, his first since taking office on Jan. 1, told reporters that he had raised the issue with President Bush and congressional leaders, including the new Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Rebels said to kill, eat rare gorillas

DAKAR, Senegal — Rebels in eastern Congo have killed and eaten two silverback mountain gorillas, conservationists said yesterday.

Only about 700 mountain gorillas remain in the world, 380 of them spread across a range of volcanic mountains straddling the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda in Central Africa.

One dismembered gorilla corpse was found Tuesday in Congo’s Virunga National Park, a few hundred yards from a park patrol post that was abandoned because of rebel attacks, according to the London-based Africa Conservation Fund. Another was killed in the same area on Jan. 5.

The group blamed rebels loyal to a local warlord, Laurent Nkunda, for the latest killing. Nkunda is a renegade soldier who commands thousands of fighters in the vast country’s east.


Americans’ abductor killed in gunbattle

MANILA — A top al Qaeda-linked militant, accused in the kidnapping of three Americans in 2001 and of masterminding one of Southeast Asia’s worst terrorist attacks three years later, has been killed, the Philippine military said yesterday.

Jainal Antel Sali Jr., popularly known as Abu Sulaiman — a top leader of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group — died in a fierce gunbattle Tuesday with army special forces, military officials said.

Washington had offered up to $5 million for the capture of Sulaiman, who kidnapped Americans Martin and Gracia Burnham in 2001. Mr. Burnham was killed during a rescue mission. A third American, Guillermo Sobero, was beheaded.


Student protesters clash with police

ATHENS — Protesters torched cars, broke bank windows and clashed with riot police yesterday during a student demonstration against plans to allow private universities to operate in Greece.

The violence broke out near the capital’s main Syntagma Square as more than 3,000 protesters marched to parliament, where a committee discussed the plan that would end a state monopoly on university education.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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