Belgian Food Scare Expands to Beef, Pork
BRUSSELS -- A scandal over Belgian poultry laced with cancer-causing dioxin has now spread to pork and beef, engulfing most of the nation's meat industry.
The government approved new measures banning the slaughter and even transport of poultry, pork and beef across the country, worsening the biggest food scare in the 15-nation European Union since Britain's 1996 "mad cow disease."
The European Union on Wednesday ordered that Belgian poultry -- as well as products such as cakes, cookies, mayonnaise and pasta made with possibly contaminated eggs -- be destroyed. Yesterday, it expanded that decision to include pork and beef, and said it will also ban the export of such products. Nations from Greece to Ghana scrambled to keep Belgian food off supermarket shelves.
Russian Prime Minister Says Food Aid Stolen
MOSCOW -- Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said he has ordered a new investigation into how food aid to Russia is distributed because one-third of past deliveries went astray.
According to the Interfax news agency, Stepashin said he had ordered police and domestic intelligence services to check the "entire chain of receiving and using humanitarian aid."
THE MIDDLE EAST
Kurdish Rebel Urges State to Choose Peace
IMRALI, Turkey -- Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan appealed to the Turkish government to accept his overtures for ending 15 years of fighting that have left 37,000 people dead.
"This is about Turkey's future," Ocalan told the court on the prison island of Imrali, where he is being tried for treason. "Whatever our mistakes and our sins, give us a chance. Let's unite."
The rebel chief, who could be sentenced to hang, has asked the court to spare his life so he could work to stop fighting between the Turkish military and his Kurdish Workers' Party.
Police Said to Thwart Attack on U.S. Consulate
ISTANBUL -- Turkish police killed two members of a radical leftist group in a shootout as the pair were preparing an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, state-run Anatolian news agency said early today.
It said two pistols and a shoulder-held anti-tank rocket launcher had been found on the pair who died in a clash with police in the Tepebasi area of the city, close to the U.S. consulate.
The agency gave no details about the group to which the two supposedly belonged.
Israeli-Backed Militia Quits Lebanese Town
JEZZINE, Lebanon The South Lebanon Army ended its 14-year occupation of the Jezzine enclave yesterday, leaving a trail of abandoned equipment and positions as it retreated into Israeli-controlled areas. Residents of the salient, which borders Israel s occupation zone, woke to find that before dawn the Israeli-backed militia had quit all the towns and villages it had occupied since 1985. The militia, which destroyed its positions around the enclave during the night, left smoldering tanks, burning armored personnel carriers and exploding ammunition. Blackened documents lying in open drawers were blowing about in the wind.
U.S. Air Attack Hit Buildings, Iraq Says
BAGHDAD, Iraq Iraq said buildings were damaged when U.S. warplanes hit targets in a Western-imposed no-fly zone in the north of the country. Hostile formations bombed our service installations and [military] camps in Nineveh, and the bombing led to damage in buildings and installations, the official Iraqi news agency quoted a military spokesman as saying. A statement from the base in southern Turkey where U.S. warplanes are stationed said American planes attacked Iraqi air defenses near Mosul after being fired on and targeted by radar.
Afghan Guerrillas Reportedly Enter Kashmir
KARACHI, Pakistan -- A Muslim militant group said scores of Afghans were in forward positions in northern Kashmir, where guerrillas are holed up fighting Indian forces.
"Today, a group of more than 200 mujaheddin [holy warriors] from Afghanistan have joined our forces in the Kargil-Batalik sectors," Abdullah Muntazir, information secretary of Lashkar-i-Tayyaba said yesterday. Muntazir said it was the first time so many Afghan fighters had been sent to the Indian side of disputed Kashmir.
India unleased a ninth day of airstrikes on the guerrillas, who New Delhi says are Pakistan-backed infiltrators.
Death Toll in Indian Cyclone Exceeds 400
AHMEDABAD, India -- Rescuers have found the bodies of more than 120 Indian fishermen killed in a cyclone that lashed the Arabian Sea two weeks ago, raising the death toll to 403, officials said.
"We have recovered more bodies from a small island across Okha port in the Kutch district," said K. B. Patel, deputy director of information in the western state of Gujarat. "The high tide Sunday had drifted the bodies toward the island."
After 15 Years, Nigerian Lawmakers at Work
ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigeria's new national assembly opened, ending more than 15 years of lawmaking by military decree in Africa's most populous nation.
The election of Evan Enwerem as influential speaker of the 109-member Senate ended days of political wrangling.
Thousands of political supporters, well-wishers and onlookers crowded into the new building housing the senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.
Group Reports Atrocities in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- A week into Sierra Leone peace talks, an international relief group reported a new wave of mutilations and killings of civilians in the war-battered West African country.
In a statement, Doctors Without Borders said that since late April more than 170 people were operated on for war-related injuries by doctors in a hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital. Of those, 56 were wounded recently. Most were civilians, and many were women and children who had their hands or legs cut off.
Trinidad Prepares Again to Hang Killers
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- Trinidad and Tobago prepared to hang nine killers in four days, an unprecedented spate of executions in the face of pressure from former colonial power Britain to end capital punishment.
Barring unexpected last-minute stays, reputed drug lord Dole Chadee and eight former members of his gang will hang in groups of three today, Saturday and Monday.
After failing in a lengthy battle to have their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment, they were read death warrants a week ago for an unprecedented third time.
FOR THE RECORD
CAIRO -- Egypt's parliament overwhelmingly nominated President Hosni Mubarak for a fourth six-year term.
MOSCOW -- President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree commuting the last death sentence in Russia to a prison term, emptying death row and in effect eliminating capital punishment.
SANTIAGO, Chile -- The lower house of Chile's Congress gave final approval to a treaty with Argentina settling the last border dispute between the two South American nations.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"NATO killed so many people. . . . How would you feel about them coming to your country?"
Aleksander Radulovic, an economics student in Belgrade -- Page A30