WORLD

World NOTES

June 20 1994
WORLD

World NOTES

June 20 1994

World NOTES

Tightening the squeeze

Nearly 40 years after an armistice put an end to the Korean War, long-simmering hostility heated up last week between the recalcitrant Communist North and an array of foes that included the capitalist South, the United States, its Western allies and the United Nation’s nuclear control agency. The central issue: North Korea’s continuing refusal to allow international inspection of its nuclear program, which, Washington believes, may have already produced one or two atomic weapons. As a result, said U.S. assistant secretary of defence Ashton Carter, Washington and Seoul are intensifying their intelligence surveillance in case the North plans to use nuclear weapons. However, Carter added, the North could not win a war in spite of its present manpower superiority over the U.S. and South Korean forces facing it along the storied 38th parallel.

MOUNTING HORROR

A total of 86 people, including the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kigali, were reported killed in two separate massacres in Rwanda. Nine priests and 63 civilians were murdered in a government-held section of the capital, while rebels admitted their own men had massacred 13 clergymen, including the archbishop, in their refuge south of Kigali. Amid a rising death toll in the war-torn country, the UN Security Council approved the dispatch of 5,500 peacekeeping troops, including 300 Canadians, with a mandate to protect civilians but not stop the fighting.

NUCLEAR THEFT

Russian authorities arrested three people in St. Petersburg for possession of seven pounds of enriched uranium that could be used to make nuclear devices. The uranium had been stolen from a top-secret plant in Moscow. Western leaders have ex§ pressed concern about security at Russian | nuclear facilities, saying that gangsters I could sell uranium to countries suspected Ë of trying to build nuclear weapons. 1

CANADIANS NABBED IN CUBA

Cuban authorities arrested two Torontoarea men after a botched attempt to spirit eight Cubans out of the country illegally. A Cuban foreign ministry spokesman said that Michael Venditti, a computer consultant, and Robert Shymko, who manages a firm that renovates hotels in Cuba, were sailing off a beach near Havana when their chartered yacht ran over three Cuban swimmers not involved in the smuggling attempt, killing two of them.

SWEPT AWAY

An earthquake sent a sea of mud cascading through Colombia’s Paez river valley, burying entire Indian villages in its path. Rescue workers said that at least 250 people were presumed dead, and some estimates ranged as high as 1,200. Colombia’s worst natural disaster occurred in 1985 when a volcanic eruption triggered an avalanche of mud that killed 23,000 people in the town of Armero.

AID FOR GULF VETERANS?

The Clinton administration endorsed a bill to compensate victims of the so-called Gulf War Syndrome. Thousands of veterans who served in the 1991 conflict have reported symptoms such as muscle pain, memory loss and respiratory problems. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown said it would be the first time the U.S. government has “provided payment for something we’re not even certain exists.”

Although Washington continued to press the United Nations to approve sanctions against North Korea, U.S. officials said they would agree to an international conference that might offer diplomatic and economic inducements for the North to become more cooperative. The need for conciliation has never been greater: at week’s end, the International Atomic Energy Agency voted 28 to 1 to suspend technical aid to North Korea. The action was taken despite a threat by the

North Korean delegate that his country might withdraw from the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty.

Isolating Haiti

In a further move to force Haiti’s military rulers out of power, the United States and Canada announced a ban on commercial airline flights to the Caribbean republic. Said President Bill Clinton: ‘The message is simple: democracy must be restored, the coup must not endure.” Washington also said it was forbidding private financial transactions between the two nations, including those done through third countries. Canada may follow suit. The new measures were added to an international oil, arms and trade embargo aimed at restoring democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted in a 1991 coup.

Underscoring the brutality of the military regime, a Canadian man missing in Haiti for three days was released from a prison after being severely beaten. Diplomatic sources said that Victor Edmond, 38, a black employee of a Canadian nongovernmental humanitarian organization, had been stopped at a police roadblock and later jailed. A human-rights observer who saw Edmond after his release said he had teeth missing and a bruised and swollen face.