$15.5 million aid fine, more needed Serbian leader says
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia - A Serbian opposition leader said yesterday that a Norwegian pledge of $15.5 million in aid if the opposition won next week's elections was welcome but a new government would need much more.
"Serbia's consolidated budget deficit in 2001 will be $1 billion because an economic catastrophe befell Serbia in the past 10 years of [President Slobodan] Milosevic's rule," Mladjan Dinkic, leader of G17 group of independent economists, told a news conference.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland said Wednesday that his country would release aid if the democratic opposition won Sept. 24. He said: "We have to give hope to the people that democracy is better than the system they now have."
Little movement in talks on halting global warming
LYON, France - U.N.-sponsored climate talks wound up yesterday in Lyon without significant progress toward a worldwide strategy for curbing emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
The pressure is now on for governments worldwide to achieve that breakthrough at crucial United Nations talks in The Hague Nov. 13 to 25, or risk seeing an international decision to tackle climate change fall to pieces.
"The Hague is a political deadline," top U.N. climate official Michael Zammit Cutajar said. "It must deal with the issues that have economic consequences."
Work begins on removing chemical arms left in China
BEIJING - Japanese and Chinese specialists are excavating a huge cache of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan's army in northeastern China after World War II, officials said yesterday.
Work began Wednesday to remove 500 chemical bombs and 1,000 conventional explosives found in Bei'an, a city in Heilongjiang province, the municipal government said in a statement. The cache was unearthed in 1997 by a resident digging a garden.
Farmers or construction workers occasionally find shells and bombs, disintegrating but still dangerous. Suits filed on behalf of Chinese people against Japan's government allege that leaking chemicals have caused some 2,000 deaths since the end of the war.
Canadian researchers announce cloning of bull
QUEBEC CITY - Canadian researchers said yesterday that they had cloned a male calf from the cells of Canada's world-renowned Starbuck Holstein bull, which sired more than 200,000 offspring before dying two years ago.
Scientists at Quebec's Artificial Insemination Centre and the University of Montreal's veterinary faculty are expected to make the official announcement Wednesday of last week's birth of Starbuck 2.
An ethicist interviewed yesterday said the news about Starbuck 2 was somewhat worrying. "There is obviously big commercial interest in doing this. People want to have the best animal they can, but on the other hand there is a lot to be said for maintaining a certain degree of diversity," said Margaret Somerville, at Montreal's McGill University Ethics Centre.
1,400 deaths attributed to Maoist activity in Nepal
KATMANDU, Nepal - A Maoist insurgency in a remote mountainous area in Nepal has claimed more than 1,400 lives over the past four years, a government minister said yesterday. The rebels are demanding an end to Nepal's constitutional monarchy and the feudal structure that prevails in parts of the country.
Govind Raj Joshi, the interior minister, said the rebels had killed at least 209 police personnel and lost 979 of their own since the campaign began in central and midwestern Nepal in February 1996.
Joshi said 249 civilians had either been killed by the rebels or been caught in the clash between the guerrillas and the police. The rebels have kidnapped about 270 people, including some children who were forced to join their ranks.
6 more countries join ban on land mines
GENEVA - A meeting to review progress of a landmark 1997 treaty banning land mines ended yesterday in Geneva with six more countries coming on board and a pledge to keep up momentum in the campaign against the weapon.
But governments and activists at the weeklong talks said more needed to be done and called for pressure on states like Russia, China and the United States that have yet to sign up.
During this week's talks, the number of governments that have ratified the treaty rose to 107 from 101, diplomats said. The new signatories were Colombia, Bangladesh, Moldova, the Maldives, Kiribati and Gabon.
Colombians said to join militia in killing rebels
BOGOTA, Colombia - Residents of a Colombian town angered by the destruction of their only clinic by Marxist rebels joined right-wing paramilitary gunmen yesterday in attacking the rebels and killing 12 of them, authorities said.