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Updated: 29-Apr-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

29 April 2004

  • Iraqis split over whether Iraq is better off
  • Denmark to discuss expanded role in Iraq with Colin Powell


  • Macedonian (sic) PM wins presidency, opposition cries foul
  • International prosecutor clears Serbs in child drowning in Kosovo


  • Afghan poppy crop up 50 percent this year


  • UN adopts resolution aimed at keeping weapons of mass destruction from terrorists


  • Most Iraqis believe the ouster of Saddam Hussein was “worth” the hardships they have endured since the U.S.-led invasion, but Iraqis are sharply divided over whether the country is better off, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released on Wednesday. Forty-two percent of Iraqis said they believe their country is better off since the invasion launched more than a year ago, while 46 percent said the war has done “more harm than good,” the poll found. The poll was conducted throughout the country in late March and early April before the latest upsurge of violence. Among the findings, the polls said that Iraqi attitudes toward foreign troops have hardened considerably. When asked how they now view coalition forces, 71 percent of all Iraqis said “mostly as occupiers” while 19 percent said “mostly as liberators,” the poll added. By contrast, sentiment was evenly divided when they were asked their view of the foreign troops at the beginning of the invasion. Forty-three percent said they initially viewed them as liberators, while the same percentage viewed them as occupiers. (Reuters 290348 GMT Apr 04)

  • Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen will raise the possibility of increasing the number of Danish troops in Iraq when he meets U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday in Copenhagen. Denmark’s plans stand in contrast to announcements by Spain, Honduras and the Dominican Republic that they will withdraw their troops in the face of surging violence in Iraq. “I think it is a wrong signal to send. It could give terrorists the impression that terror pays,” Mr. Rasmussen told Danish TV2 news on Wednesday. (Reuters 282157 GMT Apr 04)


  • Pro-Western Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski won the presidential election in Macedonia (sic), preliminary results showed on Thursday, but the nationalist opposition alleged fraud and demanded the vote be annulled. The centre-left political veteran won 62.66 percent of the votes. (Reuters 290108 GMT Apr 04)

  • An international prosecutor has found no evidence implicating Serbs in the drowning of three ethnic Albanian children, whose deaths touched off the worst violence in Kosovo since the end of the 1998-99 war, a UN spokesman said Wednesday. After an investigation, prosecutor Peter Tinsley concluded that “no suspects have been identified” in the drowning in Cabra. The prosecutor failed to determine why or how - if they were not chased by Serbs - the children ended up in the river. (AP 281444 Apr 04)


  • Afghan farmers are expected to harvest 50 percent more poppy plants this year, hindering the government’s efforts to curb opium trade, a top U.S. Agriculture Department official said on Wednesday. USDA Deputy Secretary Jim Moseley, who travelled to Afghanistan last week to review its agricultural development, said the world’s leading producer of opium could only hope to turn the tide on poppy production beginning next year. Poppy plants are used to make heroin and morphine. Opium production has complicated the task of restoring central government authority in Afghanistan, enabling warlords to run small armies and it gives them an extra financial incentive to retain their autonomy. “The money is not flowing into the government from poppies,” Mr. Moseley said. “Some of it ultimately flows into those individuals that use it for terrorist activities.” (Reuters 282149 GMT Apr 04)


  • The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday requiring all 191 UN member states to pass laws to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists and black marketers. U.S. deputy ambassador James Cunningham said the resolution fulfils President Bush’s three goals: it criminalizes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, ensures that all countries have strong export controls, and requires that sensitive materials are secured within each country’s borders. (AP 282107 Apr 04)


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