Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

World Briefs

August 22, 2001


Tokyo: Storm packs wallop

Nearly 50,000 people in central Japan prepared to flee their homes Wednesday as a powerful tropical storm that has already killed two people and injured 25 swept across the region and headed toward Tokyo.

The storm, which was packing winds of 67 mph, already had forced 7,000 people from their homes in southwestern Japan.

The storm, which was downgraded from a typhoon on Tuesday, is named Pabuk, or "big freshwater fish" in the Lao language. It was centered this morning near the city of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture, 95 miles west of Tokyo.

On Tuesday, the storm forced the cancellation of nearly 180 domestic and international flights in Japan, and flooding led to the closure of several major highways.

Romania: Royal heirs file suit for Dracula's Castle

The descendants of a former Romanian princess are suing the government for the return of an ancient fortress popularly known as "Dracula's Castle" or $25 million in compensation.

Culture Minister Razvan Theodorescu confirmed receipt of a letter from lawyers representing the family of the former Princess Ileana, the state news agency Rompres reported Tuesday.

Vlad the Impaler the Romanian warrior prince who gave rise to the Dracula legend never lived in the turreted gothic edifice. Nonetheless, it has been nicknamed "Dracula's Castle," a favorite attraction of tourists and foreign filmmakers alike. Vlad, whose legendary reputation for cruelty was founded on his love of impaling his victims and watching them die while he ate dinner, turned into the blood-drinking Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel.

Princess Ileana was a daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England and Czar Alexander II of Russia. Ileana's mother left her the castle when she died in 1938.

Rome: American pastors want archbishop, wife to meet

Two American ministers on Tuesday joined an effort to arrange a meeting between Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the South Korean wife the Vatican insists he give up.

The Revs. T. L. Barrett of the Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago, Ill., and Hycel Taylor of the Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Ill., said they have asked for an audience with the pope.

The two Protestant ministers hope to persuade the pope to allow a meeting between Milingo, 71, and Maria Sung, 43, the woman he married May 27 in a group wedding conducted by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Barrett said he and Taylor also want to ensure that "this black man who is unique in the Catholic Church is receiving the justice that is due and is treated fairly."

South Africa: Lawsuit demands AIDS drug distribution

With hundreds of South African babies born with HIV every day, AIDS activists and doctors sued the government Tuesday demanding it distribute a key AIDS drug that could slash that number in half.

By refusing to make the AIDS drug nevirapine widely available to HIV-infected pregnant women, the government is denying women and children their constitutional rights to health care, the suit filed in the Pretoria High Court claimed.

The suit represented a new strategy for the Treatment Action Campaign, which is one of the country's top AIDS organizations and has been pressing the government for four years to provide medication to prevent transmission of HIV during childbirth.

It was the first major legal challenge aimed at forcing a change in policy on AIDS medication and it hinged on the constitution's specific guarantees of a right to health care, reproductive rights and health care for children.

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