Friday, October 24, 2008
Russian Bid to Extend Base Lease Is Spurned
Ukraine has turned down a proposal by Russia to extend the lease for the naval base used by its Black Sea Fleet.
Russia wants the fleet to remain in the port of Sevastopol beyond 2017. It is eager to maintain its strategic foothold on the Crimean Peninsula, which was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 when Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that the issue "cannot be a subject of discussion."Medical Supplies to Gaza Blocked
The International Committee of the Red Cross said that virtually no medical supplies were reaching Gaza, putting at risk the lives of several hundred seriously ill patients. It blamed a "standstill in cooperation" between Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled strip for imports of medical supplies having slowed to a "trickle" in recent weeks, aggravating an already critical situation.Mercury in Russian's Car Cleared
French police suggested that mercury found in the car of a Russian lawyer who defends Kremlin foes was spilled accidentally. Karina Moskalenko said that she and her family suffered headaches and nausea and that she feared the mercury might have been planted. Paris police said the mercury came from a barometer that broke while being transported by the car's previous owner.French Seize Nine Somali Pirates
The French navy captured nine Somali pirates near the Gulf of Aden, and another pirate warned again that if a hijacked Ukrainian arms ship was attacked, the ship's 20-man crew would be killed, despite the impending arrival of NATO warships.E.U., Cuba Reconcile After 5 Years
The European Union and Cuba reestablished cooperation that was broken off five years ago in a dispute over Cuban political prisoners. The agreement calls for the two sides to look for ways to work together in areas such as trade, the environment, science and technology. The European Commission, executive body of the 27-nation E.U., said in a statement it may invest up to $32 million in joint projects. It also said it would give Cuba $2.5 million to aid recovery from recent hurricanes Gustav and Ike.Fatal Fireworks Explosion in India
A huge explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in western India killed 27 people, including 12 children. The predawn blast blew apart the workshop set up in a home in a slum in the town of Deeg, in India's Rajasthan state. Another 17 people were injured in the explosion.
From News Services