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2003-03-08 - 1:05 a.m.

:::News and Commentary, Mar. 8th:::

"Proof"that Iraq sought uranium was fake

Louis Charbonneau writes: The head of the U.N. nuclear agency has shot down allegations that Iraq tried to revive its nuclear arms programme and says fake documents back U.S. claims Baghdad tried to buy uranium to make bombs.

In what some believe was his last update report to the U.N. Security Council on weapons inspections in Iraq, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei undermined Washington's position just as it scrambles for support for a U.N. resolution paving the way for war in Iraq.

"Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded ... that these documents, which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger, are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei told the U.N. Security Council on Friday.

"We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded," he said.

::Click on the link above to read the full report:::


Cat Stevens Records Two Anti-War Songs

LONDON - Yusuf Islam, formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens, has recorded two songs to express his opposition to a U.S.-led war on Iraq.

One song is a rerecording of his '70s hit "Peace Train." The other, "Angel of War," reworks his melancholy love song "Lady D'Arbanville."

"As a member of humanity and as a Muslim, this is my contribution to the call for a peaceful solution to the dangerous path some world leaders today seem to be taking," he said in a statement posted on his Web site.

Islam, who was born Stephen Georgiou, took Cat Stevens as a stage name and had a string of hits in the early 1970s. He abandoned his music career in 1977 and changed his name after being persuaded by orthodox Muslim teachers that his lifestyle was forbidden by Islamic law.

He later became a teacher and an advocate for his religion, founding a Muslim school here in 1983.

Islam made headlines when he supported the death sentence issued by Iran against author Salman Rushdie for his book "The Satanic Verses," which some considered an insult against the Islamic religion.

In 1990, he released his first album in 18 years, which was 80 percent talk.

"Peace Train" and "Angel of War" have been shipped to radio stations around the world and will be available from the singer's Web site, his record label, Universal, said Thursday.

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