Georgia replaces two ministers
TBILISI, Georgia - Georgia's leaders ousted the country's defense minister and foreign minister yesterday in a shake-up that some observers saw as reflecting dissatisfaction with the West as the country struggles to recover from its disastrous war with Russia.
The new foreign minister, Grigol Vashadze, lived and worked in Moscow for many years. His appointment is being interpreted as an attempt by President Mikhail Saakashvili's government to improve relations with Russia.
In announcing the dismissals, Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili said the government needed an overhaul because of the "new realities."
Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said the dismissals had long been expected, especially that of the defense minister. "After a lost war, someone should be held responsible," Utiashvili said.
122 rescued from ship off Antarctica
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The Chilean navy rescued all 122 people yesterday from a leaking cruise ship off Antarctica. The Chilean ship Aquiles was transporting the 89 passengers and 33 crew members to a naval base in Antarctica.
The Panamanian-flagged Ushuaia cruise ship sent out alarms midday Thursday after it started leaking fuel and taking on water, but it never appeared to be in danger of sinking. A rock damaged the hull as the Ushuaia passed through the Gerlache Strait, Chilean Capt. Pedro Ojeda said. The crash left the boat adrift.
WHO suggests melamine limits
GENEVA - The World Health Organization said yesterday that tiny traces of the chemical melamine are not harmful in most foods, except baby formula, but it joined the United States and the European Union in suggesting a strict limit that regulators should impose before pulling products off the shelf.
Melamine was recently found to have contaminated milk products around the world and has been implicated in the sickening of nearly 300,000 babies in China and the deaths of at least six infants there.
A meeting of food-safety experts held by WHO in Ottawa, Canada, decided yesterday that while there is no good reason to have any melamine in food products, a maximum of 0.2 milligrams of melamine per kilogram of body weight can be tolerated per day.
The Dutch Supreme Court
has decided sex shows should be thought of as theater, at least when it comes to taxes. The Netherlands' highest court ruled yesterday that a peep-show owner is eligible to pay sales tax at a lower rate of 6 percent as opposed to 19 percent.
South Africa is sending
more military doctors to its northern border to treat Zimbabwean cholera victims, underlining fears of a regional disease outbreak linked to Zimbabwe's collapse. Zimbabwe state media announced Thursday that a national health emergency had been declared.