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The Daily Tar HeelTuesday, September 12, 19893
Lebanese violence sparks forest f 5 ires, leaves 11 1 dead
From Associated Press reports
; BEIRUT, Lebanon Forest fires
caused by tank and artillery battles raged
in the hills around Beirut on Monday,
trapping thousands of people in moun
tain towns. At least 11 people were
reported killed in the latest fighting.
. In the waters off the Christian sector,
Syrian gunboats seized a ship carrying
supplies to the Christian forces. A
senior Iraqi official said Iraq would
urge Arab League ministers to call an
emergency Arab summit to press Syria
to leave Lebanon.
The second gunfight in three days
erupted in south Lebanon, where Is
raeli troops reportedly killed two guer
rillas. The mountain fighting centered on
Ein el-Tuffaha, 18 miles east of Beirut,
and the Christian stronghold of Souk
el-Gharb, 16 miles to the south. The
two towns sit on roads leading to the
Christian enclave from the Bekaa val
ley. Syrian guns above Ein el-Tuffaha
hammered the Christian town of
Bekfaya for seven hours, setting the
surrounding woods afire.
Bekfaya's estimated 15,000 people
were trapped in basements because fires
blocked all escape routes from the town.
Another 5,000 people were stuck in
nearby Ein Saadeh, said apolice spokes
man. Both sides battled with tank fire
overnight and through the day Monday
around Souk el-Gharb, ringed by Syria's
Along Beirut's dividing Green Line,
Syrian and Christian troops clashed
with automatic weapons as howitzer
and mortar guns thundered overhead,
keeping the city's remaining 150,000
residents in bomb shelters.
Most of Beirut's 1.5 million people
have fled the battered city over the past
six months, seeking refuge in north,
east and south Lebanon.
Police said 1 1 people died and 34
were wounded in the latest Syrian
Christian duels. That raised the casu
alty toll to at least 844 killed and 2,508
wounded since March 8, when fighting
erupted between the soldiers of Chris
tian army commander Gen. Michel
Aoun and the Syrian army.
In recent weeks, the Syrian and Druse
militiamen have been pressuring the
Christian defenses along the 66-mile
mountain front forming the eastern flank
of the 310-square-mile Christian en
clave, where an estimated 1 million
Christians are trapped with their backs
to the Mediterranean.
Two Syrian gunboats intercepted the
merchant ship Carta about 20 miles off
the coast of the enclave at mid-morning
as it tried to bring supplies to the Chris
tians, a police spokesman said.
The vessel was escorted to the Syrian-controlled
port of Tripoli in north
Lebanon, the spokesman said, speak
ing on condition of anonymity. He had
no information about its nationality or
The Syrian navy has turned back
several ships trying to reach the Chris
tian sector. Eight vessels have been
sunk or set on fire by Syrian artillery.
Syrians for the escalation in fighting,
claiming they want to sabotage peace
efforts of an Arab League committee,
we re oack to tne same old game, ;
said an announcer on the Voice of Free
Lebanon radio. "Whenever the com
mittee schedules a new meeting, the ,
Syrians let all hell break loose while '
publicly pledging cooperation to de-.
fuse the fighting."
The foreign ministers of Saudi Ara
bia, Morocco and Algeria, the three
members of the committee, are to meet '
Wednesday in Saudi Arabia in an effort
to reactivate peace efforts.
Many grocers reject environmentalists call for 'food police'
From Associated Press reports
WASHINGTON An environ
mental group launched a campaign
Monday to enlist grocers in the fight
against pesticides on food, but grocery
industry groups quickly denounced the
drive as an attempt to "create a major
crisis of confidence" in the nation's
The National Toxics Campaign said
four regional grocery chains in Califor
nia, Arizona and Massachusetts, and a
large Canadian chain had agreed to
sign a pledge designed to reduce pesti
cides on fresh fruits and vegetables.
The companies represent fewer than
200 stores in the United States, but
Craig Merrilees, director of the pro
gram, called their participation "a major
breakthrough" in efforts to use market
forces to push for a reduction in pesti
cide use on food.
There are more than 35,000 super
John O'Connor, executive director
of the NTC, said efforts were underway
to sign up hundreds of grocery retailers
in every state; other organizers of the
effort said talks were underway with
several large chains.
But the environmentalists acknowl
edged that most grocery chains, includ
ing the largest companies, have as yet
shown little sign of wanting to join
forces with the environmentalists.
Indeed, industry trade groups have
expressed open hostility.
Representatives for distributors,
processors and retailers of fruits and
vegetables denounced the environmen
talists' attempt to take the fight against
pesticides into supermarkets, saying it
is the government's job to determine
safe pesticide levels for food products.
"We do not want to be the nation's
food police,' ' declared Karen Brown, a
spokeswoman for the Food Marketing
Institute, a trade group representing
more than 1,500 grocery chains and
She and other industry spokesmen
characterized the environmentalists'
efforts with such phrases as "misguided
zealots," "coercion," "intimidation"
"These organizations are seeking to
create a major crisis of confidence in
the food supply," declared Robert
Carey, president of the Produce Mar
keting Association. He accused the
environmentalists of trying "to coerce
supermarket retailers into assuming the
job of government."
Meanwhile, the environmentalists
accused the industry groups of trying to
intimidate members into not joining
The environmentalists released a
copy of a Food Marketing Institute
letter sent to all its members in which it
called the environmentalists "self-appointed
vigilantes ... preying upon
public fears and confusion."
The letter included advice from a
Washington law firm that said partici
pation in the anti-pesticide campaign
might violate antitrust laws if the pledge
were interpreted as a boycott against a
"I think what scares them is change,' '
said Merrilees, who has been negotiat
ing with grocery executives for months.
The agreement between the environ
mentalists, four U.S. chains, a distribu
tor and the Canadian chain commits the
retailers to little beyond general goals
of seeking a reduction in pesticides on
In the agreement, the grocers pledge
to "request" growers to disclose what
pesticides were used on produce; to
"actively encourage" the phasing out
of cancer-causing chemicals on pro
duce by 1995; and to "whenever eco
nomically feasible, carry certified or
ganic produce and produce certified to
contain no detected pesticide residues. ' '
Stronger provisions once demanded
by some environmentalists are missing
from the pledge. Demands, forexample,
to have grocers post pesticide contents
of fruits and vegetables or to immedi
ately curb pesticide use are not in
cluded. Pesticide use has received heavy
attention following the uproar earlier
this year over the pesticide Alar, which
ultimately was pulled off the U.S.
market by its manufacturer after sales'
of apple products plummeted. Last week
the manufacturers of the fungicide'
EBDC said they were taking it off the
market because tests showed a higher-;
than-acceptable cancer risk. .
While the participants in the pledge
included Provigo Inc., the second larg-"
est grocery chain in Canada, with more
than 1,000 stores, the signers repre
sented no large U.S. chains.
Mon. & Wed.
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