World briefs 10/25/04
Monday, October 25, 2004
Russian Soyuz capsule lands in Kazakh steppe
ARKALYK, Kazakhstan -- A Russian-U.S. crew returned to Earth from the international space station Sunday in a pinpoint landing on the Kazakhstan steppe, and NASA's chief said the United States wanted to continue the joint relationship on future missions to Mars. Russian rockets and the non-reusable Soyuz space craft have been the only way NASA can get to the space station and back since the U.S. shuttle fleet was grounded after the Columbia burned up on re-entry in February 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
Peacekeepers, Haitian police launch operation
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Using armored cars and earth movers, U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police moved early Sunday into an area controlled by militants loyal to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, protecting workers removing burned out cars used as road blocks. One police officer was shot and killed, apparently in early resistance that ended when scores of troops moved in, said Brazilian Col. Luiz-Felipe Carbonell.
Iran says uranium facility 70 percent complete
TEHRAN, Iran -- A uranium conversion facility in Iran is nearing completion, a top official said Sunday, only days after European countries offered a deal in which Iran would reportedly have to give up all nuclear activities. State-run radio quoted Mohammed Ghannadi, second in charge of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as saying the Isfahan uranium conversion facility in central Iran was nearing completion. "The Isfahan UCF facility is operational by 70 percent right now," Ghannadi told 21 lawmakers during a visit to the plant, which Iranian officials said was inaugurated in March.
Colombia blows up nearly 7,000 land mines
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's armed forces blew up 6,800 stockpiled land mines Sunday as President Alvaro Uribe, Queen Noor of Jordan and dozens of mine blast victims watched on large screens, launching an effort to eventually rid the country of the weapons. The queen, U.S. Ambassador William Wood and other dignitaries gathered in Bogota's main plaza as the land mines were destroyed in eight thunderous explosions in a rural area near the northern city of Barranquilla.
Pro-Russia party stumbles in Lithuanian elections
VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A new pro-Russian populist political party stumbled in elections Sunday, apparently failing to get enough support to win a stake in the government in the second and final round of parliamentary elections, a vote marked by record low turnout. The Labor Party's strong first-round showing prompted the country's more established political parties to band together in an effort to defeat Labor, which they feared would steer Lithuania from its pro-Western track and back toward Moscow.
-- From wire reports