Russian rescuers set out to rescue Greenland seals ST...

FOREIGN DIGEST

May 11, 2001

Russian rescuers set out to rescue Greenland seals

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Rescuers are ready to set off to save some of the hundreds of thousands of Greenland seals starving to death in northern Russia's remote White Sea, a spokesman for the operators of the rescue ship said yesterday.

Vladimir Blinov said a 20-member crew on a Murmansk-based vessel was set to leave the Arctic city last night on a mission to take seals on board and transfer them from the White Sea to the neighboring Barents Sea, where they will have more food.

Strong winds this year have kept the floes jammed in the White Sea, where about half the 300,000 to 400,000 ice-bound pups could slowly die of starvation, scientists have said.

Indian polling stations attacked, leaving 6 dead

NEW DELHI, India - Suspected independence movement members attacked polling stations in troubled Assam state yesterday, killing six people during elections for five state legislatures. Five more were killed in West Bengal, police said.

More than 35,000 soldiers were on alert in troubled northeastern Assam state.

S. Korea makes appeal for N. Korea's inclusion

HONOLULU - South Korea yesterday urged global financial institutions to support its call for enabling its communist neighbor, North Korea, to be part of the international community.

North Korea is not a member of the Asian Development Bank, which is holding its annual meeting this week in Hawaii, and was not invited to participate as an observer. Analysts say the United States pressured the ADB not to let North Korea attend.

British conservatives put tax cut in campaign

LONDON - The Conservative Party launched its campaign for next month's election with an $11.5 billion tax-cut pledge that included a reduction in the gasoline levy, which was at the center of anti-government protests last fall that gave the Tories the only poll lead they have had since Labor came to power in 1997.

William Hague, the party leader, said he would make necessary savings by trimming bureaucracy and uncovering fraud. Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party is 20 points ahead in the polls.

Russian panel to study U.S. missile defense

MOSCOW - Russia's government said yesterday that it had formed a panel to craft Moscow's response to U.S. plans for a limited missile defense system.

The Russian panel will be headed by Yuri Kapralov, director of the Foreign Ministry's department of security affairs and disarmament.

Italian campaigners take on tough issues

ROME - Italy's opposing political blocs staked out starkly differing views on the sensitive issues of Europe and the environment yesterday in advance of Sunday's general election.

Italians will go to the polls to elect their 59th government since World War II, with billionaire Silvio Berlusconi's coalition pitted against the center-left bloc led by former Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli.

In the last permitted opinion polls, published last month, Berlusconi had a 4 percentage-point lead.

Court faults Turkey on Cyprus rights record

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Europe's top human rights court ruled yesterday that Turkey has repeatedly violated human rights during its 27-year occupation of northern Cyprus.

The European Court of Human Rights' panel of judges voted that Turkey was responsible for the violations because it "exercised effective overall control of northern Cyprus through its military presence there."

The Turkish government had argued it does not have jurisdiction over northern Cyprus, claiming responsibility lies with the Turkish-Cypriot administration, which is not recognized by any other nation apart from Turkey.

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