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UN touts windmills for poorer regions

MONTREAL -- Windmills have far bigger than expected potential for generating electricity in the Third World, according to new UN wind maps of countries from China to Nicaragua. ''Our studies show about 13 percent of the land area has potential for development," Tom Hamlin of the UN Environment Program said yesterday at a UN climate conference. Previously, he said, perhaps 1 percent of climates in developing nations were judged sufficiently windy, discouraging governments and investors from considering wind as an alternative to oil, coal, or natural gas. The new maps, part of a $9.3 million study, use data from satellites, balloons and other sources to check winds in 19 developing nations. (Reuters)

IVORY COAST

Governor is named interim prime minister

ABIDJAN -- African mediators named Charles Konan Banny, governor of the Central Bank of West African States, as Ivory Coast's interim prime minister yesterday, in a step meant to break a deadlock in the country's peace process. ''The prime minister for the transition period, which is planned to end in October 2006, is Mr. Charles Konan Banny," Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeriaand Thabo Mbeki of South Africa said in a joint statement in Abidjan. Banny, a political outsider, had been viewed as a leading candidate for the job. Analysts said they liked the banker's distance from local politics and his economic know-how. Ivory Coast's warring factions were supposed to agree on a new prime minister to guide the country toward presidential elections by next October as part of an African Union peace plan endorsed by the UN Security Council. (Reuters)

COLOMBIA

Ex-senator who paid Marxists dies in attack

BOGOTA -- A former senator who attracted national attention when he paid Marxist rebels to release his two kidnapped sons has been killed in an ambush by the same rebels, the police said yesterday. On Saturday, suspected members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia attacked a car carrying the man, Jaime Lozada, a former national senator who once served as governor of the southern Colombian province of Huila, on a country road Saturday evening, a police spokesman said. Lozada was killed and his son Jaime Felipe was wounded in a leg in the ambush. The rebel army had held Jaime Felipe and a brother, Juan Sebastian, for three years until their release in June 2004, when their father admitted to having paid a ransom. (Reuters)

RUSSIA

Roof collapse kills 8 in a pool in Urals

MOSCOW -- A concrete roof over a swimming pool in Russia's Ural Mountains region collapsed yesterday, killing at least eight people, including two children, and injuring 11, officials said. Rescuers were trying to lift concrete slabs out of the pool, and it was unclear whether other swimmers had been trapped. The disaster was reported at the indoor pool owned by a metallurgical factory in the village of Chusovoi near the Russian city of Perm, about 750 miles east of Moscow, the Ministry for Emergency Situations said in a statement. A ministry spokeswoman, Irina Andrianova, said six children were among 11 people hospitalized. (AP)

ISRAEL

Netanyahu denounces Iran nuclear program

JERUSALEM -- Israel should take ''bold and courageous" action against Iran's nuclear program, similar to its 1981 strike on an Iraqi reactor, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday. The frontrunner to head Israel's rightist Likud party ahead of March 28 elections, Netanyahu has been drawing battle lines with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who voiced hope last week that diplomacy would prevent Iran from getting the bomb. ''It must be understood that Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear threat against Israel," Netanyahu told Israel Radio. (Reuters)

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