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World Briefings - 2002-11-13


The United Nations has submitted a plan to Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders aimed at ending the division of the Mediterranean island. The detailed peace plan calls for a common national government with two equal states. The plan is modeled in part after the government of Switzerland. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island in response to a Greek-backed coup in Nicosia.

US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is in China for talks expected to focus on North Korea. Last month, US diplomats said that North Korea admitted violating a 1994 agreement to half its nuclear development program, in exchange for energy assistance from a US led consortium that includes Japan and South Korea.

In Slovenia, the state electoral commission declared Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek won more than 44 percent of the vote in Sunday’s first round presidential election. The chief opposition candidate, conservative state prosecutor Barbara Brezigar, had just over 31 percent. The two leading candidates will meet in a run-off election December 1st.

The Colombian military has launched an intensive search for a top Latin American bishop kidnapped Monday by armed assailants outside Bogotá. Defense officials say the military is searching by air and land for Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez and another kidnapped clergyman. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, but Colombian authorities blame leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or “FARC.”

In Brazil, ten prisoners were stabbed to death during a 14-hour riot in a Sao Paulo prison. The prisoners who died were killed with makeshift knives. Three prison officials, who were taken hostage during the riot, were freed unharmed.

A wave of deadly storms and tornadoes has ripped through the United States, this past week, killing at least 35 people and injuring more than 200. The severe storms stretched from Louisiana in the south to Pennsylvania in the north, with Tennessee and Alabama the hardest hit. Emergency crews continue to search for survivors amid the wreckage.

And finally, on Monday, Bill Gates, the head of computer software giant Microsoft Corporation and the world’s richest man, pledged a donation of 100-million dollars to help India fight the spread of AIDS. India has the world’s second-largest group of people with the AIDS virus; second only to South Africa. The donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would provide better access to HIV prevention measures for people who are seen as vulnerable to HIV infections.

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