Archive for Sunday, December 29, 2002


December 29, 2002


Washington, D.C.: Saudis bend on U.S. missions launched from kingdom

Saudi Arabia has privately assured U.S. officials they could launch air-support missions from Saudi bases in the event of a war with Iraq and could coordinate the air war from a central command post near the Saudi capital, Pentagon officials said Saturday.

Saudi Arabia is a long-standing American ally, but its willingness to permit U.S. forces to operate from the kingdom's soil for attacks on Iraq has been in serious doubt for many months.

It remains unclear whether the Saudis would agree to allow U.S. strike aircraft to use Saudi air bases or fly through Saudi airspace en route to targets in Iraq.

New York: Navy ship to incorporate salvaged steel from WTC

Steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center was headed Saturday to a Mississippi shipyard for use in the USS New York, a warship named in honor of those who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

It was the Navy's idea to incorporate the steel into the vessel, said Capt. Kevin Wensing, a Navy public affairs officer in Washington.

He said the steel was removed Friday from the New York landfill that holds much of the debris from the twin towers and was being shipped to the Northrop Grumman shipyard at Pascagoula, Miss., where construction of the warship is to begin next year.

The $800 million vessel should be ready for active duty in 2007.

Tokyo: Emperor Akihito diagnosed with prostate cancer

Emperor Akihito has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery next month, Japan's Imperial Household Agency announced Saturday.

Doctors believe the cancer hasn't spread, and that the emperor has a "good chance of a full recovery."

The emperor is scheduled in mid-January to undergo an operation at Tokyo University Hospital to have the cancerous tissue removed and will be hospitalized for about a month.

Akihito's eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will temporarily assume the emperor's duties if necessary

Under Japan's constitution, the royal family's role is largely symbolic.

Sudan: Newspaper ordered closed by government authorities

Sudanese authorities closed an independent daily newspaper and warned two others against running Saturday editions, journalists at each paper said.

State-run television said Saturday that security officials ordered Al-Watan daily closed for national security reasons. Further details were not provided.

Adil Sidahmed Khalifa, the paper's deputy editor, said the government opposed his paper's coverage of corruption cases and its interviews with southern rebels who are fighting a civil war against government forces.

Earlier, journalists from two independent papers -- the influential Al-Huria daily and Al-Sahafa, Sudan's oldest private paper -- said state security officials warned them not to print Saturday editions.

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