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4 U.S. soldiers die as helicopter crashes in Kuwait

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2003


KUWAIT CITY -- A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed early today during a training mission, killing all four crew members, the U.S. Army said.

The crash occurred about 1 a.m. (5 p.m. EST Monday) near the military's Camp New Jersey, about 30 miles northwest of Kuwait City, an Army statement said.

The aircraft was one of two from the Army's V Corps and was part of a 70,000-strong force that has been massed in this gulf emirate for an invasion of Iraq.

The crew members, whose names weren't released, were the only personnel on board, the Army said. Central Command is investigating the crash.

Malaysian leader: War's aim is to dominate nonwhites

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the threat of war is part of a campaign to dominate nonwhite nations.

Mahathir, a close U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, has denounced Washington's campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein, saying it will fuel an upsurge in terror attacks worldwide.

In his inaugural address as chairman of the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement, Mahathir urged member states to join the millions of antiwar protesters.

Iran may strand refugees

TEHRAN, Iran -- The Iranian government will close its borders to Iraqi refugees if there is a war involving Iraq unless someone else foots the huge bill for caring for them, government officials say.

With most refugees from an anticipated U.S. invasion of Iraq expected to head for Iran, the policy could leave countless Iraqis stranded in a mine-infested, no-man's land between the countries.

Roughly 1.3-million Iraqi Kurds and Arabs fled across the 911-mile-long Iranian border in the aftermath of the first Persian Gulf War.

The international community spent only $1 for every $100 Iran spent on those refugees, said Ahmad Hosseini, Iran's head of refugee affairs.

Also . . .

MONITORING TROOPS' HEALTH: The head of the Veterans Affairs Department, hoping to avoid the kind of health care controversies that surrounded Persian Gulf War vets, is asking the Defense Department to track troop exposure to toxins and environmental hazards in any new war with Iraq and share the data.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, VA Secretary Anthony Principi said data from tests of troops who may have been exposed to chemical, biological or radiological warfare agents, and from environmental monitoring, "could be critically important in our later health assessment."

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