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U.S. plea on adoption fails in Romania

By wire services
Published December 23, 2005


BUCHAREST, Romania - Romania's prime minister on Thursday rejected U.S. calls to allow adoptions by foreigners of about 1,000 Romanian children.

About 200 U.S. families and 800 European families had filed paperwork to adopt Romanian children before 2004, when Romania enacted legislation that effectively bans all foreign adoptions, except for close relatives of the child. The United States has asked Romania to exempt about 1,000 children from that ban.

"The Romanian legislation will not be changed, as it accords with European and international law," Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said.

Critics say the adoption ban has prevented many children from finding homes with adoptive families abroad as they languish in foster care or institutions.

In addition, said Maura Harty, an official with the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, families in the U.S. and elsewhere have been left in the dark about the fate of the children they were trying to adopt.

U.S. warns of terrorism threat in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia - The U.S. Embassy warned Thursday that the threat of terrorist attacks targeting Westerners in Indonesia over the Christmas and New Year holidays was very high.

The Indonesian government said thousands of troops would help provide security and protect dignitaries during the holiday season.

Maps and explosives obtained in a police raid on a terrorist's hideout last month indicated the al-Qaida-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah was in the advanced stages of planning attacks, the embassy said in an e-mail to citizens.

Indonesian authorities also warned recently that Islamic extremists may be planning to kidnap foreigners over the holidays.

Official says Haitian elections may be delayed

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti might postpone its national elections for a fourth time due to major logistical problems, the country's top electoral official said Thursday.

Max Mathurin, head of the Provisional Electoral Council, said on local radio that if too many people are prevented from casting their ballots next month because of the problems, violent protests could erupt. "If certain major technical problems are not solved, elections on Jan. 8 could be a catastrophe," Mathurin later told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.