THE MIDDLE EAST
Iraq to Allow Removal of Chemicals, Gas
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi authorities will allow a team of experts to remove chemicals and mustard gas left behind by weapons inspectors when they departed Baghdad last year, a U.N. envoy announced yesterday.
Prakash Shah, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's representative in Iraq, said authorities have pledged to cooperate with the team, which will include five independent experts in chemical and biological warfare. Shah said Iraq's approval is on the condition that none of the experts have connections with U.N. Special Commission weapons inspectors.
Ocalan Lawyers Warn of Further Unrest
IMRALI, Turkey -- Abdullah Ocalan's lawyers presented their final arguments, warning that hanging the Kurdish rebel leader will not end decades of conflict.
A judge ordered a recess until Tuesday when a verdict is expected. Ocalan is widely expected to be convicted of treason and separatism -- charges punished by death -- for leading a 15-year struggle for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey. A conviction could unleash violent protests by Kurds in Turkey and across Europe.
Brazil Swears in New Federal Police Chief
BRASILIA -- Brazil swore in a new federal police chief following the resignation of the government's previous choice who was accused in media reports of torturing a priest.
Justice Minister Renan Calheiros swore in Agilio Monteiro Filho, 52, the little-known head of the federal police in wealthy Minas Gerais state. Calheiros vehemently opposed the government's previous choice, Joao Batista Campelos, who resigned Friday amid allegations that he tortured a Roman Catholic priest during an interrogation in 1970.
Honduran Family Wins Daughter's Release
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A Honduran family sold a house, a car, electric appliances and even toys to come up with a $14,000 ransom to free their 6-year-old daughter, kidnapped Saturday, police said.
The girl, Jessica Lopez, was freed in Baracoa, 105 miles north of Tegucigalpa, and returned to her family. The kidnappers had demanded $420,000, police said, but later lowered the ransom.
North, South Korea Agree to Resume Talks
BEIJING -- North and South Korea agreed to resume talks on Saturday while diplomats from North Korea and the United States discussed their often antagonistic relationship for a second day.
After talking for eight hours Wednesday, U.S. envoy Charles Kartman and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan met again at a hotel here. Neither side would comment on the talks.
Prosecutor Links Saudi to Embassy Attacks
LONDON -- A Saudi man wanted by the United States has a "significant and incontrovertible link" with the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a British court was told.
British prosecutors said several faxes had been found at the London offices of Khalid Fawwaz linking him to the bombings and to the man the United States says was behind them -- exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. The United States is seeking the extradition of Fawwaz, who was arrested in London last September.
Protestants Begin March in Londonderry
LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland -- Protestants protesting suffering they say was inflicted by the Irish Republican Army began a 10-day march across Northern Ireland.
About 150 silent Catholic protesters picketed the start of the 117-mile march. Critics say the protest is designed to raise sectarian tensions before a June 30 deadline to establish the Protestant-Catholic government, envisioned in last year's peace accord. Most of those marching oppose the deal. The march is to end July 3 in the bitterly divided southern town of Portadown, where members of the Protestant Orange Order hope to march the next day past the town's main Catholic district.
Britain Bans Human Embryo Cloning
LONDON -- The government rejected expert advice and banned the cloning of human embryos for any kind of medical research, saying more time is needed to consider the implications. The decision, announced in Parliament after months of deliberations, came as a surprise. The move means that embryos may not be cloned for infertility and congenital disease research.
Gorilla Home to Reopen to Tourists in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda -- Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, home to half of the world's rare mountain gorillas, will reopen next month for the first time since civil war forced its closure two years ago, officials said.
About 300 of the majestic gorillas live in bamboo forests on the upper slopes of steep forested volcanoes inside the park, on Rwanda's northern borders with Uganda and Congo. Tourism was suspended at the park in June 1997, at the height of an armed insurgency waged by Hutu rebels who, in 1994, had led the genocidal slaughter of an estimated 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.
Six U.S. Embassies to Close Temporarily
U.S. embassies in six African countries will be closed for the next three days because of security concerns, the State Department said.
Although there had been no specific threats, the embassies in Gambia, Liberia, Togo, Madagascar, Namibia and Senegal will be shut until June 27, a department official said. "Because they are believed to have been under surveillance by suspicious individuals, we have taken the precaution of temporarily closing our embassies," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
FOR THE RECORD
SARAJEVO, Bosnia -- Local elections in Bosnia have been postponed from September until next April because of the Kosovo conflict in neighboring Yugoslavia, an official said.
BEIJING -- China's population is expected to rise by 12 million people this year, reaching about 1.26 billion by the millennium, the state-run New China News Agency said. China has set a goal of keeping its population to 1.3 billion by 2000.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"What is Israel doing to us?"
A Beirut resident after the bombing of Beirut's main power station by Israeli warplanes -- Page A21