World Watch

4 minute read
PENNY CAMPBELL

Divided They Stand
Prominent Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders urged voters to reject a meticulously crafted United Nations plan meant to end the 30-year division of the island. The plan is to be put to a vote on April 24. Rejection by either side would likely be final, said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “It is a choice between this or no settlement at all,” he said in Switzerland after presenting his latest draft. Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos claimed in a TV address that the plan violates E.U. principles by preventing thousands of Greek Cypriots from returning to homes in the north and “legitimizing the illegal presence of Turkish settlers.”

Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, also told supporters to vote against the plan, though most Turkish Cypriots are likely to ignore his pleas; polls suggest some 60% will vote yes. But in a separate poll of Greek Cypriots, more than 60% opposed the plan. The biggest political party said it would support the initiative if the vote were postponed, but international pressure in favor of the deal is mounting. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who supports the plan, said that a split vote with the south rejecting the arrangement and the north approving it should lead to formal partition of the island, in which the north, which is currently recognized only by Ankara , gains international recognition as a separate state. — By Andrew Purvis. With reporting by Anthee Carassava

An Open-Source Spy
RUSSIA A Moscow court sentenced researcher Igor Sutyagin to 15 years in prison after a jury convicted him of treason for spying. Prosecutors claimed that Sutyagin passed classified defense information to a U.K. company that they say was a CIA front. Sutyagin said that he carried out his

PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES

research using publicly available information. Human-rights advocates said that the case was designed to deter Russians from unsanctioned contacts with foreigners.

Changing the Rules
HONG KONG In a reinterpretation of Hong Kong ‘s constitution, China ‘s highest legislature ruled that it must approve all political reforms in the territory. The edict was criticized by democracy activists, and the British Foreign Office said it appeared to erode the high degree of autonomy guaranteed to Hong Kong when it was handed back to China in 1997.

Tiger, Tiger
SRI LANKA Thousands of civilians fled their homes as rival factions of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam clashed in the eastern Batticaloa district, threatening the 2002 cease-fire between the government and the Tigers. The country already faced fresh political turmoil as President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s United People’s Freedom Alliance won parliamentary elections but failed to achieve an outright majority, forcing it to find new coalition partners.

Neck and Neck
INDONESIA Preliminary results from the parliamentary election showed President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s governing Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the former ruling Golkar party battling for first place with about 20% of the vote each. The apparent erosion in support for the PDI-P, which won 34% of the vote in 1999, raised doubts about Megawati’s prospects in July’s presidential poll.

MEANWHILE IN THE U.K. …
Flying Fowl
A parliamentary committee revealed that eight Chinook helicopters bought by the Ministry of Defense at a cost of $475 million can’t fly in cloudy weather. Since the MOD cannot check whether the choppers meet British safety standards, they are restricted to flying above 150 m in clear skies, and have not been used in Afghanistan or Iraq. The committee chairman said the MOD “might as well have bought eight turkeys.”

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