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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE23 APRIL 2002

 

AFGHANISTAN
  • U.S. and Canada start probe on deaths in Afghanistan

WAR ON TERRORISM

  • Al-Qaida leader claims group can build dirty radioactive bomb

NATO

  • Top UK air-power group urges joint European forces
  • Bulgarian says his country deserves to be in NATO

EU

  • Mid-East tension sours EU-Mediterranean conference

IRAQ

  • Iraqi Kurds discuss plans with U.S. officials to oust Saddam
  • Pentagon says Iraq moved more air defense missiles into ‘no fly’ zones

 

AFGHANISTAN

  • Canada and the United States began examining on Monday what went wrong last week when a U.S. fighter jet mistakenly bombed and killed four Canadian soldiers who were taking part in a training exercise in Afghanistan. The countries will have two separate panels that will collaborate, and the U.S. military said the probe could result in punishment. (Reuters 222038 GMT Apr 02)

 

WAR ON TERRORISM

  • Abu Zubaydah, the senior al-Qaida field commander in U.S. custody, told his interrogators that the terrorist network knows how to build a "dirty bomb," a terror weapon capable of dispersing radioactivity over a wide area, a U.S. official said on Monday. Officials don’t know whether to believe Abu Zubaydah, who also recently claimed al-Qaida is targeting banks in the northeastern United States. That report was the basis of an FBI alert last week. (AP 230246 Apr 02)

 

NATO

  • European nations need to join forces in the air if they want to wield sufficient firepower to rank alongside the United States, a leading British aviation think tank has recommended. Even Britain’s Royal Air Force, one of the strongest air forces in Europe, no longer had enough money to meet all of the potential demands put on it. "...The RAF has reached the stage where it cannot continue to fill every major air role," the influential Royal Aeronautical Society says in a new research paper. "It is time to develop much closer aerial ties with neighbours and allies." Other European forces would get the same benefits in saving money in some areas while building capabilities that were currently unavailable to them, it argued. (Reuters 221511 GMT Apr 02)

 

  • Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Bulgaria said Monday that his country is prepared to make a significant contribution to NATO if it obtains an invitation to join the alliance later this year. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who meets with President Bush on Tuesday, addressed a luncheon gathering at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said Bulgaria would make NATO more robust, particularly in the U.S.-led effort to defeat international terrorism. Bulgarian military contributions would help NATO countries in Europe narrow the current military advantage held by the United States in the alliance, he added. (AP 222037 Apr 02)

 

EU

  • Arab fury over Israel’s offensive in the West Bank virtually derailed a meeting on Monday to foster greater cooperation between the European Union and its Mediterranean neighbours. Although foreign ministers from the 15-nation EU and its Mediterranean rim partners agreed on steps to bolster economic, political and cultural ties, there was no hint of diplomatic triumph at the conference in Valencia, Spain. (Reuters 222023 GMT Apr 02)

 

IRAQ

  • Leaders of the two main Kurdish parties that control northern Iraq met with U.S. administration officials last week to coordinate efforts to remove Saddam Hussein from power, according to Iraqi dissidents and Arab press. On Sunday, the London-based Asharq Al-Alwat newspaper reported that both Barzani and Talabani met officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA in Germany last week. Quoting a Kurdish source, the paper said both sides met for three days near Berlin and reviewed coordination "to launch a strike against Saddam most likely by the end of this year." (AP 221543 Apr 02)

 

  • Iraq has moved more surface-to-air missile batteries into the U.S.- and British-enforced "no Fly" zones and is threatening allied pilots, a senior U.S. general said on Monday. Although Iraq has a history of moving air defense forces in and out of the "no fly" zones, the most recent movements are the largest in a few years, said U.S. Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The movement has occurred over the last several days, Gen. Myers said at a Pentagon briefing. (AP 222049 Apr 02)

 

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