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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 26 NOVEMBER 2002

 

 

WAR ON TERRORISM

         President Bush to sign bill for new department to protect U.S.

         Algeria says it killed al-Qaeda's North Africa leader

         French police round up six in anti-terrorism sweep

IRAQ

         Top U.S. general touring Gulf, to discuss Iraq with Saudis

         UN extends Iraq oil, food plan until Dec. 4

         "credible possibility" that Ukraine sold radar systems through third party

         Iraq says it fired at Western jets in south

         Germany confirms Israel asks for Patriot missiles

BALKANS

         Europe promises to fight organized crime in the Balkans

         UN takes charge in flashpoint Kosovo town

OTHER NEWS

         Countries sign code of conduct on use of ballistic missiles

         Canada gives cash to Russia to destroy weapons

         UN extends Cyprus peacekeeping mission for six months

         Uneasy neighbours Spain and Morocco to renew talks

 

WAR ON TERRORISM

 

         President Bush signs legislation on Monday to create a new Department of Homeland Security charged with preventing another Sept. 11-like attack on the United States, triggering the biggest government reorganization in half a century. Administration officials said Bush would name Navy Secretary Gordon England to serve as Ridge's deputy at the Cabinet-level agency. (Reuters 251749 GMT Nov 02)

 

         Algerian security forces have killed the top al-Qaeda official in North Africa and the Sahel region, the official APS news agency reported on Monday. Security officials said Emad Abdelwahid Ahmed Alwan, alias Abu Mohamed, a Yemeni citizen was killed by security forces in September in Algeria's Batna province. Government troops shot and killed Alwan in an ambush near Merouna in Batna province on September 12, but he was identified only recently after a long investigation by security authorities, APS said. (Reuters 251808 GMT Nov 02)

 

         Police held six suspected members of France's radical Islamic movement after a Monday sweep in the Paris suburbs, judicial officials said. The arrests were part of the judges' investigation into Islamic militants in France who have ties to radical Islamic groups or terror training camps in Afghanistan. Officials said some of those taken in for questioning may have links to a German-based group suspected planning a foiled terrorist plot on the city of Strasbourg in December 2000. No further details were available. (AP 252122 Nov 02)

 

IRAQ
 

         The American general who would run a war with Iraq paid a quick, low-key visit to Bahrain on Monday, then headed to Saudi Arabia where he was to discuss the U.S.-Iraq standoff with rulers of the kingdom. Gen. Tommy Franks, head of the U.S. Central Command, started his two-day visit in Saudi Arabia by meeting Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Abdulaziz, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The agency did not provide details on the meeting, saying the men "discussed issues of mutual interest between the two countries." Gen. Franks is also expected in Kuwait on Thursday. (AP 251705 Nov 02)

 

         The United States forced the UN Security Council on Monday to extend the UN humanitarian program for Iraq for nine days rather than the usual six months, insisting on expanding a list of goods Baghdad must get UN approval to import. Preparing for possible war, the United States, in particular the Pentagon, has linked extension of the plan to scrutiny of a "goods review list" of civilian supplies going to Baghdad that could have military uses. These have to be reviewed separately by Security Council members and Washington wants it done within three months. (Reuters 260222 GMT Nov 02)

 

         U.S. and British investigators said there is a "credible possibility" that Ukraine sent sophisticated radar systems to Iraq through an intermediary, in a report released on Monday. The team of 13 U.S. and British experts spent a week in Ukraine last month investigating whether the country sent any Kolchuha radar systems to Baghdad in violation of UN sanctions. Their findings, compiled in a 16-page report, were made public on Monday. (AP 252301 Nov 02)

 

         Iraq's anti-aircraft batteries opened fire at U.S. and British planes over the south of the country on Monday, an Iraqi military spokesman said. The incident came hours before the first group of UN weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad to resume a hunt for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. "At 11:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) today, U.S. and British planes violated our air space, carrying out 34 sorties from bases in Kuwait," the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA). The spokesman reported no firing on Iraqi targets by the planes, but said Iraq's anti-aircraft and missile batteries fired at the aircraft, forcing them to return to their bases. (Reuters 251759 GMT Nov 02)

 

         The German Defence Ministry on Monday confirmed a report that Israel had asked Berlin to provide it with Patriot missiles to help defend it against any possible Iraqi strike in case of a U.S.-led war on Baghdad. The ministry confirmed the report due to appear in Die Welt newspaper on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the request was being examined, but giving no further details. The request puts Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in a difficult position over his pledges not to get involved in any U.S.-led war on Iraq, while Germany has a deep commitment to Israel's security. (Reuters 252036 GMT Nov 02)

   

BALKANS

 

         European countries agreed Monday to form a new strategic partnership to fight organized crime in the Balkans. "The rule of law is the foundation for democracy, prosperity and long-term stability. Organized crime threatens all of this. It is an enemy we must defeat, or it will defeat us," the one-day conference by 57 European delegations said in its final statement. The countries pledged that next year, under Greece's leadership as president of the European Union, they would promote a regional center that combats trans-border crime, improve port and airport security, improve naval and maritime security in the Adriatic, train more police in the Balkans, and promote legislation making it easier to fight money laundering there. (AP 251850 Nov 02)

 

         The UN finally took control of the Serb side of Kosovo's divided flashpoint town of Kosovska Mitrovica on Monday. The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) took charge of the Serb northern part of the town after an agreement with Belgrade that gave the UN authority throughout Kosovo for the first time since it entered the province in 1999. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic said UNMIK's action was in accordance with an agreement reached with authorities in Belgrade, the Beta news agency reported. He urged people in the town to remain calm. (Reuters 252247 GMT Nov 02)

 

OTHER NEWS

 

         The United States, Russia and 90 other countries signed a "code of conduct" on Monday intended to control the spread of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. At a two-day conference in The Hague ending Tuesday, diplomats expressed concern over the possible use of long-range missiles by aggressor nations or terrorists intending to use chemical or biological weapons. By signing the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles Proliferation, countries promised transparency in the development and use of ballistic missiles. (AP 252251 Nov 02)

 

         Canada agreed on Monday to make the first payment as part of a $20 billion drive to help Russia destroy chemical, nuclear and biological weapons materials in order to stop them falling into the hands of militants. Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham said his country was counting on Washington to help press on with its efforts to destroy the legacy of Soviet arms. (Reuters 251810 GMT Nov 02)

 

         The Security Council extended the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus on Monday for another six months as Secretary-General Kofi Annan pressed for talks to begin on his plan to reunite the divided island. Annan hopes to bring Turkish and Greek Cypriots together in a peace deal before a Dec. 12 European Union summit. (Reuters 252331 GMT Nov 02)

 

         Spain and Morocco will attempt to soothe their tense relationship in December when Morocco's foreign minister visits Madrid for the first time since a military standoff between the Mediterranean neighbours. Already strained relations hit a low point in July when Spanish troops ousted a Moroccan patrol at gunpoint from a tiny islet claimed by both countries. (Reuters 251920 GMT Nov 02)

 

 

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