U.S. unlikely to sign treaty on tobacco
WASHINGTON — The United States told the World Health Organization this week that it is unlikely to sign the first treaty to curtail tobacco use worldwide unless the 171 nations that hammered out its language agree to a clause that would allow governments to opt out of any provision they find objectionable.
The Bush administration says it needs the so-called "reservations" clause to ensure that the United States can disregard treaty requirements that it considers constitutionally questionable. Anti-tobacco activists and foreign diplomats say the U.S. demand is an attempt to water down the treaty to benefit tobacco companies or to unravel the agreement entirely.
The draft of the treaty, which calls for nations to adopt a wide range of tobacco-control initiatives, was approved overwhelmingly at a Geneva conference in March. Only the United States and the Dominican Republic have objected since, WHO officials said.
The treaty includes a ban on tobacco advertising except where a ban would violate national laws, encourages increased tobacco taxes to discourage smoking, and calls for specific tobacco-control steps such as requiring that health warnings on cigarette packages take up 30 to 50 percent of the display area.
Chrétien to introduce bill to decriminalize having pot
OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, setting the stage for another clash with the United States, said yesterday he soon would introduce legislation to decriminalize possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana.
The announcement was the strongest indication yet that Ottawa would follow through on a promise it made last year to relax such laws.
The announcement was unlikely to win Chrétien new friends in Washington, which is angry at Canada's decision not to send troops to Iraq and repeatedly has expressed concern about the increasing amount of potent marijuana flowing across the border.
First suspect charged in Bali nightclub bombing attacks
BALI, Indonesia — Indonesian prosecutors formally charged their first suspect today in last year's terror bombings on the resort island of Bali, which killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.
The suspect, known by the single name Amrozi, allegedly belongs to Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked group blamed for the near-simultaneous bombings at two Bali nightclubs.
Amrozi, one of 29 people detained in connection with the Oct. 12 attack, faces charges of violating anti-terrorism laws that could carry the death penalty, a spokesman for the prosecution said.
17 killed during Indian raid of alleged Islamic militants
SRINAGAR, India — Indian troops raided a base of suspected Islamic militants in Kashmir yesterday, sparking a firefight that lasted more than five hours and resulted in 17 deaths.
The battle, one day after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan held a brief but rare conversation by telephone to discuss resuming a dialogue, resulted in the deaths of 11 suspected militants and six Indian soldiers.
The fighting occurred in the Doda district, 110 miles northeast of Jammu, the winter capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Man arrested in 'Fluffi Bunni' computer-hacking operation
LONDON — British authorities yesterday arrested a man believed to head a group of hackers known as "Fluffi Bunni," which used a stuffed pink rabbit to mark attacks that humiliated some of the world's premier computer-security organizations.
Fluffi Bunni captured the attention of the FBI days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when thousands of commercial Web sites were vandalized with a single break-in that included the message, "Fluffi Bunni Goes Jihad."
Lynn Htun, 24, was arrested by Scotland Yard detectives on outstanding forgery charges while attending a prominent trade show in London for computer-security professionals, authorities said.