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News Briefs I

U.S. Starts Delivery of Weapons To Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Forces

The Washington Post
PLOCE, Croatia

A U.S. ship carrying $100 million worth of American-made weapons, including 45 battle tanks and 80 armored personnel carriers, began unloading Thursday at this Croatian port as part of the U.S.-led program to train and equip a joint Bosnian army of Muslims and Croats.

The controversial program to bring more weapons into this unpredictable region moved a major step forward with the delivery of the guns. The shipment followed more than 10 months of U.S. pressure on the Croats and Muslims to bury their differences and begin to work together as a federation, uniting their armies, which fought a bitter war in 1993-94.

U.S. officials labored for months to remove a Muslim official, Deputy Defense Minister Hasan Cengic, because of his alleged close ties to the radical Islamic regime in Iran. Cengic finally was fired on Tuesday, opening the way for the ship, which had been treading water in the Adriatic Sea since Oct. 24 at a cost of $1.3 million, to dock and unload its cargo.

James Pardew, a State Department official who heads the U.S. program, said the guns would be used for Bosnia's defense and would contribute to stability in the region.

"The purpose of the train-and-equip program is to prevent war by creating a military balance in Bosnia," Pardew said.

Royal Commission Proposes Giving Canada's Indians Self-Rule

The Washington Post

In a 4,000-page, $40 million report, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People concluded that "Euro-Canada" had left the country's more than 800,000 Indians largely destitute, stripped of traditional lands and resources that should have been protected by treaty, and under immense pressure to assimilate into Western culture.

They further stated the result: widespread poverty, high rates of alcoholism and teen suicide and a growing potential for violence if Canada does not restructure the relationship with its original residents.

The commission suggested, in essence, that Canada start from scratch, renegotiating virtually every aspect of Indian governance and economics, and even soliciting the queen of England to embody the new beginning in a royal proclamation.

But the impact of the document is uncertain. Its call for creation of dozens of self-governing nations is bound to echo in a country struggling to keep its European components - English and French speakers - unified. Within dozens of local communities, it will touch nerves as well.

Researchers Narrow Cancer Gene Search, Promise Improved Diagnosis

Los Angeles Times

Researchers have narrowed the search for a prostate cancer gene to one small corner of the human genetic blueprint, a finding that promises improved diagnosis, new treatments and better survival rates for this most common of male cancers.

An estimated 317,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and 40,000 die from it.

The localization of a gene that causes the disease in families, reported Friday in the journal Science, "provides the first strong evidence that specific genes for prostate cancer do exist," said Dr. William Isaacs of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Also, according to some researchers, the discovery is so significant that, "It is a major step toward finding those genes," possibly as early as within the next year.

Researchers estimate that the new gene, called hereditary prostate cancer 1 (HPC1), causes about a third of all inherited cases of prostate cancer - a percentage remarkably similar to that caused by the first breast cancer gene identified in women. But they believe that by identifying the gene and understanding its function will help them to shed new light on how non-inherited cases of the disease develop as well.