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Since 1st March, 1999
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US flag flies and vanishes

Umm Qasr, March 21 (Reuters): US Marines briefly raised the Stars and Stripes flag over the new port area of Umm Qasr today after facing tougher than expected resistance in and around the southern Iraq port.

Reuters correspondent Adrian Croft, travelling with the Marines, saw troops lower an Iraqi flag soon after they arrived at the port complex, replacing it with the US flag. Some time later, Marines returned and removed the Stars and Stripes. No reason was given for the decision.

Water weapon

Washington (Reuters): Water could be a weapon in the Iraqi military arsenal, the Pentagon said on Friday. Iraq’s military could deliberately cause flooding along the Tigris river between the capital Baghdad and the city of Al Kut by releasing water from upstream reservoirs, the US defence department said.

Hubby on TV

Washington (Reuters): American Stefanie Lyle found out what her husband gets up to at work on Friday when she watched him charge through southern Iraq in a tank on live television. “I’ve been taping it,” Lyle told CNN by telephone from Fort Stewart, Georgia. “I just can’t believe that we’re able to see this on TV. It’s great.” Lyle’s husband, Clay, is a tank commander with the US 7th Cavalry.

No chemicals

Kuwait City (Reuters): The US has said that no chemical or biological agents had been detected in any of the missiles fired by Iraq into Kuwait. In a message to its citizens in Kuwait, the US embassy said it had no immediate plans to evacuate them. “As you know, the Iraqi regime has fired several missiles at Kuwait. None have impacted populated areas. No chemical or biological agents have been detected,” it said.

Zoo plea

London (Reuters): A British Member of Parliament has asked military leaders in Iraq to think about some of the forgotten casualties of war — animals. Tony Banks, a former minister in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government, welcomed promises from London and Washington that troops would do their best to avoid hitting ordinary Iraqis in bombing raids, but said they also needed to think about the creatures in Baghdad’s El-Zawra Zoo. Reported to be shut and under renovation, the zoo escaped damage during the 1991 Allied blitz on Baghdad.

Human shields

Baghdad (Reuters): Westerners opposed to the US-led war on Iraq are acting as “human shields” at a power plant which provides some six million people in Baghdad with electricity. On Friday, some of the 15 “human shields” at the plant spoke of why they were risking their lives being there. “My life is not more important than the lives of thousands of Iraqis living in a village close to this plant,” said Michel Pauli, 57, from Switzerland. Another opponent of the war, an American, said: “I am here as a human shield hopefully to prevent an attack on this power plant.”

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