- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007


Harper shuffles Cabinet with eye on election

OTTAWA — Stung by public criticism of its environmental policy and preparing for a likely election early this year, Canada’s government made sweeping changes to its Cabinet yesterday, making the environment a top priority.

“We’ve clearly determined we need to do more on the environment,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony that included seven Cabinet changes and the addition of six junior Cabinet posts.

Mr. Harper replaced embattled Environment Minister Rona Ambrose with John Baird, a feisty young politician who previously led the Treasury Board.


Authorities disrupt terrorist recruiting cell

RABAT — Moroccan security forces have dismantled a radical Islamic cell that recruited volunteers to fight in Iraq and arrested 62 persons, the government said yesterday.

“The security services dismantled a terrorist structure with international ramifications specialized in the recruitment and movement of volunteers to Iraq and operating in certain Moroccan towns and localities,” the government said.

It said the group had “ideological and financial links” with al Qaeda, the Algeria-based Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat and other international terrorist groups.


Bird-flu specialist takes over WHO

GENEVA — Chinese bird-flu specialist Margaret Chan took over as head of the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday, promising to put Africa and women at the top of her agenda.

Dr. Chan, the first Chinese to head a United Nations agency, was chosen as director-general of the 192-state world health body in November in an election prompted by the death in office of her predecessor, Lee Jong-wook of South Korea.

Dr. Chan, 59, a former Hong Kong health chief and most recently the WHO’s assistant director-general for communicable diseases, has argued that the world needs to reinforce surveillance to ensure that new killer diseases are detected quickly.


Scientists blame rain for flamingo deaths

NAIROBI — Natural changes in the environment, not man-made pollution, may be to blame for the mass deaths of flamingos in Kenya, scientists said yesterday.

Tens of thousands of the birds have died in recent years in the East African country, where they are a major tourist draw and adorn postcards, T-shirts and holiday photos.

Researchers from environmental campaign group Earthwatch said flamingos at Lake Bogoria were getting only a 10th of their daily food requirement because heavy rains had swollen streams flowing into the lake, diluting the algae the birds rely on.


American sailor awaiting rescue

SANTIAGO — A Chilean naval plane spotted yesterday a lost American whose sailboat has been adrift for two days off the coast of southern Chile, naval officials said.

The crew of the search-and-rescue plane said the man, Ken Barnes, was alive, according to maritime officials in Punta Arenas, at the southernmost tip of the country.

“The sailor, who was able to see the [plane’s] pilots, is still on board the ship, which has two broken masts and is out of control,” authorities said.

Mr. Barnes, 47, left Long Beach, Calif., Oct. 28 on a solo journey intended to take him around Cape Horn and northward in the Atlantic Ocean, with arrival on the U.S. East Coast planned for April.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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