© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- With potential food shortages just weeks away, the U.S. military opened a warehouse to U.N. aid shipments Sunday, stockpiling flour for Baghdad's people as workers pressed to restore battered basic services like power and water.
Fifty trucks loaded with 1,400 tons of wheat flour -- the first substantial convoy of World Food Program aid -- arrived from Jordan at a Trade Ministry warehouse on Sunday.
U.N. officials have said most Iraqis had enough food stores to last them until late April.
Electrical engineers again held out hope for an end to Baghdad's paralyzing two-week power outage, saying a bombed pipeline had been fixed and the lead power plant could be back on line by the end of the day.
Oil Ministry officials told engineers at the southern al-Doura power plant they had replaced a bombed 5-foot stretch of pipeline supplying fuel to the plant, said Janan Behnam, chief engineer and manager of the plant. But some engineers said they were skeptical.
Also, a convoy of food has arrived for the animals at the Baghdad Zoo, who were malnourished during more than a decade of international sanctions and abandoned during the U.S.-led war, the U.S. Central Command said.
The shipment included a two-week supply of fruit, vegetables and meat, and a one-month supply of dry feed, the command said.
The food in the new shipment was donated by the Kuwaiti government and the convoy was arranged by the Humanitarian Organizing Committee in Kuwait City, which handles relations between charities and the U.S. military.
EL PASO, Texas -- Five former prisoners of war spent the day with loved ones on Sunday while two of their comrades celebrated Easter with President Bush.
Chief Warrant Officer David Williams and Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young Jr., Apache helicopter pilots who were held captive in Iraq for three weeks, joined Bush at Easter services at the Ford Hood Army base.
After the services, Bush met with the two crewmen and their families, saying he had "a good talk with them. Good, strong men."
Williams and Young arrived at Fort Bliss on Saturday evening with the other five former POWs, who are staying at the base with their families as part of the transition back to life in the United States.
Doctors from the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso were to examine the soldiers today.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II said in his Easter Sunday message the Iraqi people should determine their future.
"Peace in Iraq!" proclaimed the pontiff, drawing cheers from some 60,000 people, chilled by rain, in St. Peter's Square, where a tired-looking John Paul had just finished celebrating Mass on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.
"With the support of the international community, may the Iraqi people become the protagonists of their collective rebuilding of their country," said John Paul, who had vigorously spoken out against war and tried to use Vatican diplomacy to avert it.
The phrase "international community" in Vatican diplomatic circles can refer to the United Nations and peacemaking efforts involving several countries.
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey has responded "positively" to a U.S. request for peacekeeping troops and experts to help stabilize and rebuild Iraq, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Sunday.
Turkish officials say the Bush administration is seeking assistance in a broad range of areas, from peacekeepers and doctors to experts in communications and infrastructure. Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said Washington also was looking for experts in explosives and nuclear technology.
While no formal arrangements have been made, Gul said Turkey has verbally agreed to help reconstruct Iraq, its southern neighbor.
"Right now, we look at it positively," Gul told private CNN-Turk television. "A written response will be sent by the beginning of this week."
WASHINGTON -- The pilots and crew members of U.S. planes that struck targets where Saddam Hussein was believed to have been were awarded Distinguished Flying Cross medals, the military said Sunday.
Lt. Col. David Toomey and Maj. Mark Hoehn received medals for flying F-117A attack jets in a March 19 mission to bomb a complex where Hussein and his sons were thought to have been staying.
Also given the Distinguished Flying Cross were the crew of a B-0 bomber that launched an April 7 strike on a Baghdad house where Hussein was believed to have been staying.
They are Capt. Chris Watcher, the plane's commander; Lt. Col. Fred Swan, weapons system officer; Capt. Sloan Hollis, pilot; and 1st Lt. Joe Runci, offensive systems operator.
NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN AZIZ, AUNT: On Easter, Selma Dawood had few kinds words for her nephew Tariq Aziz, who was deputy prime minister in Saddam Hussein's government and, to Americans, Iraq's voice to the outside world through two gulf wars.
"Let them arrest him," Selma Dawood said. "It's not important to me. What can I do with Tariq Aziz?"
Asked if her nephew, a Christian, had done anything to aid Christians, she said: "Zero. Zero. He's very, very bad."
PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS MISSING: When looters raced through Baghdad nearly two weeks ago, they left the gates open to Al Rashad Psychiatric Hospital, allowing most of the terrified patients to flee.
The hospital staff is still trying to account for 800 patients, hoping that most made their way to family homes instead of being forced to fend for themselves on Baghdad's streets.
BRITISH TROOPS RECOVER SOLDIERS' REMAINS: British troops have recovered the remains of two soldiers whose bodies were shown on television after a battle in southern Iraq last month, defense officials said Sunday.
The Ministry of Defense said the two bodies were exhumed from a shallow grave near Zubayr.
The two bomb-disposal experts with the Royal Engineers disappeared March 23 after an attack on military vehicles near the Iraqi town.