Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2001

World Briefs

August 23, 2001

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Vatican City: Married archbishop agrees to meet wife

An archbishop whose marriage scandalized the Vatican has agreed to meet with his wife after a two-week spiritual retreat, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, 71, "will meet Maria Sung to communicate his decisions to her," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

However, questions were immediately raised over whether the two sides could agree on terms for the meeting.

The wife, Maria Sung, a 43-year-old acupuncturist, said that Vatican had set conditions, including one that was unacceptable: that a mediator from each side be present.

The Vatican, meanwhile, denied setting any conditions. Navarro-Valls said that Milingo had made the decision to meet with Sung and set the conditions "in total liberty."

Navarro-Valls did not say when the couple would meet.

Afghanistan: Families seek visas to visit aid workers

Parents of two American women jailed for allegedly preaching Christianity pleaded with Afghanistan diplomats Wednesday to let them see their daughters.

The families are hoping that the personal approach will succeed where government overtures have failed, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.

"They are hoping that the Taliban can make the distinction" between a personal plea and an official request, said John Kincannon, of the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Pakistan.

"They feel there might be some merit in separating themselves from us," he said, referring to the embassy.

No one has seen the eight foreign aid workers and 16 Afghan staff of Shelter Now International since their arrest in the Afghan capital of Kabul in early August on charges of preaching Christianity.

British Virgin Islands: Tropical Storm Dean surprises forecasters

Tropical Storm Dean emerged Wednesday in the Caribbean, generating fierce wind gusts that closed two airports and forced the cancelation of more than 30 flights to several islands.

Dean began as a tropical wave a weather system that lacks westwardly winds and gained strength so quickly it was upgraded to a tropical storm.

"The system is developing and intensifying," said Eric Blake, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

By mid-afternoon, St. Croix reported wind gusts of 72 mph and Dutch St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands had closed their airports. American Eagle canceled 27 flights.

"It really came out of nowhere," Kurt Iverson, spokesman for the Dallas-based airline, said of the Caribbean's second tropical storm of the year.

The Caribbean's first tropical storm, Chantal, was dissipating Wednesday over the Yucatan Peninsula .

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