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Fri, 06 Dec 2019
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Le Pen to stand trial for Nazi comments next June

The trial of French far-right leader and former presidential candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen, on charges of denying the horrors of the Nazi occupation of France will be held in June 2007, after the next election, a court said on Thursday.

The charges against the founder of the National Front (FN) stem from comments he made to an extreme right-wing magazine in January 2005 in which he said the Nazis were "not especially inhumane" in France during World War II.

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Five Former Soviet Republics Give Up Nukes

SAN FRANCISCO - The Bush Administration is objecting to a groundbreaking treaty that set up a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia.

Under the treaty signed Friday, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan committed themselves not to produce, buy, or allow the deployment of nuclear weapons on their soil.

But the United States, along with Britain and France, refused to attend the signing ceremony in the Kazakh capital, Almaty, citing a 1992 treaty that Russia signed with four of the five nations that Moscow claims could allow missiles to be deployed in the region.

In a fresh statement issued Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan warned that "other international treaties could take precedence over the provisions of this treaty, and thus obviate the central objective of creating a zone free of nuclear weapons."

Arms control groups believe the Bush administration is being disingenuous.

"The reason that many of us suspect the U.S. is opposed to this is more fundamental," the independent Arms Control Association's Daryl G. Kimball told OneWorld. "This is a very strategic region. The U.S. is reticent to give up the option of deploying nuclear weapons in this region in the future."

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Singapore activist ban "authoritarian" : Wolfowitz

SINGAPORE - World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz aid on Friday that Singapore had damaged its own reputation by imposing "authoritarian" restrictions on the entry of activists for the World Bank/IMF meetings.

Wolfowitz said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund did not plan to postpone their annual gathering, but he had unusually sharp words for the Southeast Asian host country.

"Enormous damage has been done and a lot of that damage is done to Singapore and self-inflicted. This could have been an opportunity for them to showcase to the world their development process," Wolfowitz said at a meeting with activists.

Comment: Comment: Every time the World Bank has a big meeting, there are protestors outside who are shot with rubber bullets, gassed, beaten, and arrested. The word "authoritarian" pretty much defines the World Bank.


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Dead ape sparks rabies fear in Paris suburbs

PARIS - An ape found near Paris might have died of rabies and anyone who has recently been bitten or scratched by a monkey in the region should seek medical care, health authorities said on Friday.

The sick Barbary ape was abandoned near a vet's clinic in the southeastern suburbs of Paris earlier this week. It died shortly afterwards and initial tests suggested it had been suffering from rabies or Simian herpes.

Further tests are underway, but as a precautionary measure the health ministry issued a statement warning of the risks.

Although it is illegal to own Barbary apes as pets, authorities believe that many of the animals are illegally smuggled into France from Morocco and Algeria and are seen as the ultimate furry status symbol in the tough Paris suburbs.

Cuddly as babies, Barbary apes rapidly grow into strong, aggressive adults with powerful teeth and claws.

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Gordon picks up strength; Helene forms

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Helene moved quickly in the open Atlantic early Thursday, while Hurricane Gordon gained strength but posed no threat to land, forecasters said.

The remnants of Hurricane Florence, which had raked southern Newfoundland in Canada with 100 mph wind gusts and rain on Wednesday, damaging roads, ripping shingles from roofs and knocking out power, moved away from the coast on Thursday. The Canadian Hurricane Center said the winds should decrease through the day.

Helene had top sustained winds near 40 mph Thursday morning, just above the 39-mph threshold for a tropical storm. The eighth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed late Wednesday night.

At 5 a.m. EDT, Helene was centered 695 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and moving west over warm Atlantic waters at 22 mph, forecasters said. A gradual turn toward the west-northwest was expected over the next 24 hours.

Gordon was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane late Wednesday when its top sustained winds jumped to 120 mph, up from 110 mph earlier in the day, forecasters said.

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New El Nino sparks weather fears

The periodic phenomenon known as El Nino has developed in the Pacific Ocean threatening extreme weather in many parts of the world, US scientists say.

El Ninos begin with a warming of waters in the eastern Pacific, and there has been a steep rise in water temperature in recent weeks, they say.

This El Nino is likely to strengthen towards the end of the year and early into 2007, the researchers add.

However it is not expected to reach the strength of the 1997 phenomenon.

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Wildfire-burned acres sets 45-year high

BOISE, Idaho - Wildfires across the country have scorched more land in 2006 than in any year since at least 1960, burning an area twice the size of New Jersey.

But the flames have mainly raced across sparsely populated desert, causing fewer firefighter deaths than in previous years.

As of Wednesday, blazes had torched 8.69 million acres, or 13,584 square miles, just above last year's total of 13,573 square miles, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. Reliable records were not kept before 1960, officials said. The annual average over the past 10 years is 4.9 million acres.

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Arctic ice melting rapidly, study says

Arctic sea ice in winter is melting far faster than before, two new NASA studies reported Wednesday, a new and alarming trend that researchers say threatens the ocean's delicate ecosystem.

Scientists point to the sudden and rapid melting as a sure sign of man-made global warming.

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Fire in the Mid Canterbury skies

School children saw it, businessmen saw it and little old ladies in their gardens saw it.

The meteor that blazed its way across Ashburton skies yesterday caught many by surprise and, so quick was its passage, most doubted what they had seen.

That doubt remained until reports of the fiery, moving light began to flood into newsrooms around the South Island.

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Three earthquakes hit Russia's Far East

Three powerful earthquakes have been registered off Russia's Pacific coast, local officials said Wednesday.

Two quakes measuring 4.7 and 4.8 on the Richter scale were registered at 6:54 p.m. local time Tuesday (5:35 a.m. GMT) and 11:59 p.m. (10:59 GMT), respectively, 220 kilometers (140 miles) to the east of the Kamchatka Peninsula at a depth of 33km (21 miles), seismologists said.