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World briefs

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001


50 whales beached in Japan; 20 die

TOKYO -- Fifty melon-headed whales ran ashore Sunday on a beach near Tokyo, and about 20 died despite efforts by surfers to turn them back to sea.

The whales were among a group of 300 that appeared off the coast of Japan. The whales measured about 8 feet long and weighed about 352 pounds on average, said Akihiro Iwakami, an official of Oarai Aquarium in Ibaraki state.

Twenty-eight of the surviving whales went back to sea. The aquarium took the remaining two.

Turkey protests Greek resolution on '20s killings

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkish officials are protesting a Greek parliamentary resolution to recognize the killings of Greeks in Turkey in the early 1920s as genocide, reports said Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry summoned the Greek ambassador and demanded a formal explanation, Radikal newspaper reported.

The resolution refers to a period when Turkey and Greece were at war, and specifically Turkey's 1922 seizure of the predominantly Greek port city of Izmir -- then known as Smyrna -- on the Aegean coast. The two-year war dislocated millions of Greeks in Turkey and hundreds of thousands of Turks in Greece. Only a few thousand Greeks remain in Turkey.

The Greek Parliament approved the decree two years ago, when relations between the countries were at a low point. Greek ministers signed it Friday, but the resolution must be signed by President Costis Stephanopoulos to become law.

Chretien in Beijing

BEIJING -- Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien raised human rights concerns with Chinese leaders Sunday and oversaw the signing of an agreement on legal reforms at the start of visit focusing on Chinese-Canadian business ties.

Chretien met with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and watched as officials signed a series of pacts at the Great Hall of the People, the government headquarters in Beijing.

In protests . . .

ENGLAND: Animal rights activists smashed windows and wrecked equipment at the offices of two pharmaceutical companies Sunday, police said, prompting the arrest of 87 protesters.

Protesters organized by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty gathered at nine locations, including offices of pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer.

About 100 protesters, many in black clothing and ski masks, "smashed ground-floor windows, upturned cabinets and destroyed machinery" at the Bayer offices in Stoke Poges, just west of the capital, a police spokeswoman said.

UKRAINE: The political crisis surrounding Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma mounted Sunday as thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Kiev to demand his resignation while Russian President Vladimir Putin flew in to stand by his side.

Chanting their signature slogan, "Ukraine Without Kuchma," the demonstrators marched through the capital, formed a human chain and held candles in memory of a journalist whose death has been linked to the Ukrainian president. Some wore black masks to hide their faces, telling reporters they feared being shown on television.

CROATIA: Nearly 100,000 demonstrators protested Sunday in four places in Croatia against the investigation of a former general suspected of war atrocities, demanding early elections and a stop to Croatia's cooperation with a U.N. war crimes tribunal.

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