World

World Notes

February 21 2000
World

World Notes

February 21 2000

World Notes

World

A Mideast powder keg

Israel’s foreign minister, David Levy, warned “that the soil of Lebanon will burn” if Hezbollah guerrillas keep attacking its troops. Six soldiers have been killed in the past two weeks in Israel’s occupation zone in south Lebanon. In retaliation, Israeli fighter planes bombed three power stations, including one near Beirut. It is also doubtful that peace talks over the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, will be revived as long as the attacks continue.

Forbes bows out of race

After spending $35 million of his own money, media magnate Steve Forbes has dropped out of the U.S. presidential race. His departure leaves only former diplomat Alan Keyes, Arizona senator John McCain and Texas governor George Bush in the running for the Republican nomination.

Hillary Clinton’s drug plan

In her bid to become a New York senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton is promising legislation to let the state’s pharmacists import cheaper Canadian prescription drugs. Manufacturers, however, said the proposal could push prices up in Canada because provincial drug-plan agreements keep costs down and no company would make products for the U.S. market at those prices.

Yugoslav minister murdered

Several thousand mourners in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica paid tribute to Pavle Bulatovic, the slain Yugoslav defence minister. Bulatovic, who was loyal to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, was shot to death in Belgrade by an unknown attacker. The murder comes amid growing tensions between Serbia and Montenegro.

Kurds end guerrilla war

Kurdish leaders claim they have ended their 15-year insurrection against Turkey. Such overtures from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, have been rejected in the past. But Turkey may be more receptive because the PKK has been weakened by batde defeats and the capture of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is sentenced to death.

Asylum-seekers spark hijacking debate

The hijacking of an Afghanistan jet just after it took off from Kabul on Feb. 6 looked like the work of extremists. The eight guerrillas onboard the Ariana Airlines Boeing 727—armed with grenades, guns and knives—diverted the domestic flight with 187 people first to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, then to a remote Kazakstan town, and on to Moscow before finally getting the pilot to land at London’s Stansted airport. But when the hijacking finally ended peacefully early Thursday morning, officials suspected it may not have been an abduction at all, but rather an elaborate conspiracy between a number of passengers and their captors to gain refugee status in Britain.

Police arrested 22 people who they

believed were involved in the hijacking and, within hours, 74 passengers had asked for refugee status in Britain. Their determination to stay triggered a debate over whether Britain’s refugee policies are too lenient and left officials in a quandary over how to handle the asylum requests to avoid copycat plane seizures. Home Secretary Jack Straw seemed prepared to take a strong stand. “Unequivocal signals must be sent,” he said, “to discourage hijacking, whatever its motive.” As a first indication, at least 37 hostages prepared to fly home at the weekend. But complicating the issue is the question of the fate that awaits suspected conspirators in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime has been known to mete out punishments including amputations and execution.

More plane defects revealed

A Federad Aviation Administration order to all U.S. airline companies to inspect jackscrews on about 1,200 MD-80, MD-90, DC-9 and 717 series jetliners has uncovered at least four aircraft with tail-wing problems. The FAA move comes after Alaska Airlines grounded two of its 34 MD-80 jets

when metal filings were found on their jackscrews during a check. The examination was prompted by the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 off the California coast on Jan. 31, in which all 88 people onboard died. A jackscrew, which controls the MD80’s horizontal stabilizer, came off before or after the crash. The FAA directive also applies to Canada’s airlines. Air Canada does not fly MD-80s or MD-90s, but its fleet does include several aging DC-9s.