Haitians: Turks and Caicos

officials left us for dead

CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti - Survivors of a capsizing that killed at least 61 Haitian migrants said a Turks and Caicos patrol boat rammed them, towed them into deeper water and abandoned their overturned vessel.

"Our boat flipped over and they just left us out there," said Dona Daniel, 23, one of six survivors interviewed yesterday after they were repatriated to Haiti from the nearby British territory.

The survivors said some migrants tried to pull themselves aboard the patrol boat but were beaten back with batons.

Others were run over by the patrol boat after they were flung into the shark-filled waters as their boat capsized, said Lovderson Nacon, 19. Many of the migrants did not know how to swim and were screaming "God help me!" in the darkness, Nacon said.

The Haitians said their sailboat, loaded with an estimated 160 people, was minutes away from the shore of Providenciales, one of the Turks and Caicos Islands, last Friday when the patrol boat rammed them before dawn.

The Turks and Caicos government has said it will not comment until two investigations are completed.

Report: Jerusalem plans

new Jewish development

JERUSALEM - The Jerusalem municipality is advancing a plan to build three new Jewish neighborhoods that would connect the city's disputed eastern sector with West Bank settlement blocs, the Haaretz newspaper reported yesterday.

The plan to build more than 20,000 apartments outraged Palestinians, who claim all of east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

All three proposed neighborhoods lie on land Israel seized in the 1967 Mideast war; one calls for 500 apartments in the heart of an area of east Jerusalem densely populated by Palestinians.

The Jerusalem municipality had no immediate comment.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the plan "undermines all the efforts being exerted to revive the peace process."

Deployment extensions 'vital,'

Cheney tells U.S. troops in Iraq

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Vice President Dick Cheney told U.S. troops in Iraq yesterday that he knows they're suffering hardships from extended deployments but that the longer stays are "vital to the mission."

His words were greeted with restrained applause at a rally on a U.S. military base near Saddam Hussein's former hometown of Tikrit.

On his second day in Iraq, Cheney also held classified meetings with U.S. military leaders and emerged repeating the words of the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, that "we can expect more violence" ahead.

From Iraq, Cheney flew to this Persian Gulf nation, the second stop on a trip that also will include visits to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. The purpose of his trip is to persuade Arab allies in the region to do more to help stabilize Iraq and promote ethnic reconciliation there.

A couple thousand soldiers, clad in camouflage uniforms and with rifles slung on their shoulders, greeted the vice president at a mess hall at Camp Speicher, the desert post near Tikrit.

Meanwhile, radical Shiite politicians in Baghdad pressed yesterday for legislation demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops and a freeze on the number of foreign forces already in the country.

Japan's premier: Dubya and I

grew friendly over cheeseburgers

TOKYO - Call it cheeseburger diplomacy. Japan's prime minister says he and President Bush eased their way to a relaxed relationship over a meal of burgers during his first U.S. visit as premier.

"President Bush and I were able to deepen our friendship and trust - in fact, we are now on a first-name basis, calling each other 'George' and 'Shinzo,' " Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrote yesterday in his e-mail newsletter of his April 26-27 American visit.

Abe, who is known as an ice cream fanatic, said Bush sealed the bond with a lunch of "quintessentially American fare, a large cheeseburger."

- Associated Press