World briefs 5/24/04

Monday, May 24, 2004

Minister: Demolitions resemble World War II

JERUSALEM -- Causing an uproar, an Israeli Cabinet minister and Holocaust survivor said Sunday that Israel's offensive in a Gaza refugee camp -- including TV images of displaced Palestinians searching the rubble for their meager belongings -- brought back memories of his family's suffering. The comments by Justice Minister Yosef Lapid reflected a growing debate in Israel over the justification for a campaign that has left 41 Palestinians dead and yielded just one arms-smuggling tunnel.

Amid trouble Arab leaders pledge political reforms

TUNIS, Tunisia -- Arab leaders concluded a summit Sunday by committing their countries to political reforms, but offered few specifics as they sought to counter U.S. proposals for democratic and economic change. The annual Arab League gathering -- already delayed by two months amid sharp differences over the agenda -- also was marred by the walkout of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday and the absence of several leaders.

N. Korea may have role in nuclear black market

VIENNA, Austria -- North Korea has emerged as a possible supplier in the clandestine nuclear network, with diplomats on Sunday saying the communist country was the likely source of nearly two tons of uranium that Libya bought for its now-scrapped weapons program. The revelations stoked concern that Iran and other nations also could have benefited from cooperation with the secretive nation.

Roof of Paris airport terminal collapses

ROISSY, France -- The vaulted roof of the new, showcase terminal at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport -- touted as a jewel of design, safety and comfort -- collapsed early Sunday, killing at least five people and forcing authorities to revisit problems that preceded the fanfare opening of Terminal 2E less than a year ago. There were some cracking sounds and some dust, and then tons of concrete, steel and glass came crashing down on a waiting area inside the gleaming terminal.

Horst Koehler elected new German president

BERLIN -- Horst Koehler, a former head of the International Monetary Fund who has called for bolder economic reforms in Germany, was elected Sunday as the country's ninth postwar president. Koehler, nominated by opposition conservatives, defeated Gesine Schwan, a university professor backed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government who sought to become Germany's first female head of state.

-- From wire reports

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