Kosovo declares independence from Serbia

PRISTINA, Kosovo

Revelers fired guns, waved red-and-black Albanian flags and set off fireworks over Kosovo yesterday after parliament proclaimed independence in defiance of Serbia and Russia, which condemned the declaration of the world’s newest nation.

A decade after a bloody separatist war with Serbian forces that claimed 10,000 lives, lawmakers pronounced the territory the Republic of Kosovo and pledged to make it a “democratic, multiethnic state.” Its leaders looked for swift recognition from the U.S. and key European powers – but also braced for a bitter showdown.

Serbia called the declaration illegal and its ally Russia denounced it, saying it threatened to touch off a new conflict in the Balkans.

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania

Bush to Congress: Stop arguing and renew AIDS program

President Bush rejected proposed Democratic changes to his prized AIDS relief program, issuing a challenge yesterday to Congress to “stop the squabbling” and renew it as is. Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete made an impassioned appeal for the same thing, saying thousands in his country would orphan their children if U.S. lawmakers do not act.

There is broad support in the Democratic-controlled Congress for the anti-AIDS spending that has become the largest-ever international health initiative devoted to one disease, so there is not much danger of failing to continue it.

But with the program expiring this year, a political and ideological showdown is brewing in Washington over the initiative’s terms and size. Bush hopes that putting real, grateful faces on the program – moms and dads controlling the disease and children who were born HIV-free to infected mothers, all because of U.S.-funded treatment – would strengthen his hand in the debate.

UNITED NATIONS

U.N. employee dies after 19-floor fall

A woman who worked for the United Nations died Sunday after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N.’s Secretariat Building, authorities said.

Police and U.N. security officers at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said the woman in her 40s had jumped from a window after showing up to work early in the morning.

“A U.N. agency staff member died after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N. Secretariat Building,” U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said. “At this time there is no suspicion of foul play.”

LOS ANGELES

143M pounds of frozen beef recalled from California

The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday recalled 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse, the subject of an animal-abuse investigation, that provided meat to school lunch programs.

Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat was likely small.

The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the federal agency said.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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