BRUSSELS, Belgium

EU plans to let Turkey join ranks

In a historic move that could extend Europe’s borders to
the edge of the volatile Middle East, the European Union
recommended yesterday setting mostly Muslim Turkey on a course for
full membership in the prosperous 25-nation bloc.

Reflecting widespread misgivings, however, the 30-member EU
executive commission set tough conditions to prevent Turkey from
backtracking on sweeping democratic and human rights reforms.

“This is a qualified yes,” said European Commission
President Romano Prodi. “Our position is a positive one, but
also a prudent, cautious one.”

French President Jacques Chirac said talks with Turkey could
last 10 to 15 years “at a minimum.”

Such caution reflected unease throughout a prosperous and mostly
Christian continent about union with a poorer Muslim nation that
could be a source of unwelcome migrants. Many Europeans recall the
old Ottoman Empire, seen as a hostile power that once ruled swaths
of Europe to the gates of Vienna, Austria, leaving a legacy of
corruption in its wake.

It is now up to the EU’s 25 leaders to approve the
recommendation at a summit in December, paving the way for the
start of entry talks as early as next year.

 

TEHRAN, Iran

Iran says it has processed tons of uranium

Iran said yesterday it has processed several tons of raw
“yellowcake” uranium to prepare it for enrichment
— a key step in developing atomic weapons — in defiance
of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Converting raw uranium into hexafluoride gas does not violate
any agreements Iran has made regarding its nuclear program and was
done with the full knowledge of the International Atomic Energy
Agency. However, it draws Iran and the United States — which
quickly voiced its disapproval — closer to a showdown before
the U.N. Security Council.

The IAEA board of governors specifically demanded last month
that Iran stop all enrichment-related activities, and cited the
plans to convert raw uranium into hexafluoride gas as particularly
alarming. Iran has refused to back down, and its parliament is
studying a bill that would require the government to proceed with
the enrichment process over any objections.

Hossein Mousavian, Iran’s chief delegate to the IAEA,
would not specify how much hexafluoride gas had been produced, but
he said a few tons of raw uranium — also known as yellowcake
— had been converted.

 

WASHINGTON

Export tax break repeal to end trade dispute

A major rewrite of corporate tax law that would end a nasty
trade dispute with Europe won approval yesterday from congressional
negotiators after House Republicans beat back efforts to increase
regulation of tobacco.

The measure would repeal a tax break for thousands of American
exporters that has been ruled illegal by the World Trade
Organization. As a replacement, the proposal offers more than $140
billion in tax breaks for a wide range of businesses, from
multinational companies to bow and arrow makers.

Fishermen, farmers and taxpayers in seven states that do not
have individual state income taxes would also benefit.

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

Aristide loyalists begin Iraq-style rebellion

U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police in armored personnel
carriers moved in on a downtown slum, trying to put down a campaign
by loyalists of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who have
carried out a number of gory beheadings in imitation of Iraqi
insurgents.

Yesterday morning, the headless body of a man lay in the street
in La Salines, a seaside slum facing Port-au-Prince port. An
Associated Press Television News cameraman watched a convoy of U.N.
peacekeepers drive around the body. No head was in sight.

Three police officers were decapitated last week when Aristide
supporters launched the guerrilla campaign, dubbed “Operation
Baghdad.”

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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