Syrians to let in nuclear inspectors

VIENNA, Austria - Syria will allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors into the country this month to investigate a suspected reactor site that Israeli warplanes destroyed in September, the agency's director general said yesterday.

The visit, announced by Mohamed ElBaradei at a meeting in Vienna, Austria, would be the first time Syria has permitted investigators at the site, which the United States says had been a partly constructed nuclear reactor built with North Korean help. The Syrians have vigorously denied the atomic claim.

In a statement, ElBaradei said the visit would take place June 22 to 24, adding: "I look forward to Syria's full cooperation in this matter."

- N.Y. Times News Service

Gambia arrests suspected gays

BANJUL, Gambia - Authorities in Gambia have arrested two Spanish men for allegedly making "homosexual proposals" to taxi drivers, police said yesterday.

The arrests come less than three weeks after Gambia's president ordered homosexuals to leave the West African country and threatened in a nationally televised speech to "cut off the head" of anyone discovered to be gay.

Those convicted of consensual homosexual acts face jail terms of up to 14 years in Gambia. "We are in a Muslim-dominated country and I will not and shall never accept such individuals in this country," President Yahya Jammeh said last month.

- AP

Fraud alleged in Macedonia vote

SKOPJE, Macedonia - International monitors said yesterday that serious violations marred a national election that gave the center-right government a landslide victory. The results threatened to undermine the Balkan nation's aspirations to join the European Union and NATO.

The monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Sunday's vote was marked by violence, intimidation, and ballot-box stuffing in areas where the country's ethnic Albanian minority is predominant.

Nikola Gruevski's center-right conservatives won 48.3 percent of the vote, far ahead of the Social Democrats' 23.4 percent and enough to give Gruevski a majority in the 120-seat parliament.

- AP

Elsewhere:

The Shroud of Turin

, revered by many Christians as Jesus Christ's burial cloth, will go on rare public display in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI announced. The shroud last was shown to the public in 2000, when a million visitors viewed it in Turin cathedral during a display for the new millennium Holy Year.

The South Korean

government, citing weekend street protests, said it was delaying the planned resumption of U.S. beef imports. U.S beef has been banned by South Korea for most of the past 4 1/2 years over fears of mad cow disease.