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December 99, Week 2
|34 Picked for U.S. Soccer||December 12|
|Two Political Parties Formed in Iran||December 10|
|Pollution Engulfs Iranian Capital||December 8|
|Iran: Sanctions Hamper Y2K Efforts||December 7|
34 Picked for U.S. Soccer
The Associated Press|
CHICAGO-Former U.S. captain John Harkes, who has played 89 games for the national team, was among 34 players picked Thursday for the Americans' training camp next month prior to an exhibition game against Iran.
Harkes, a midfielder for the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer, was cut from the national team before last year's World Cup by then-coach Steve Sampson, but new coach Bruce Arena, Harkes' former coach with DC United, brought him back last July when the United States played in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The camp starts Jan. 5 in Claremont, Calif., and the United States plays Iran Jan. 16 at Pasadena, Calif. The last time the teams met, Iran won 2-1 in the first round of the 1998 World Cup.
Nine European-based players were invited to the camp, including goalkeeper Brad Friedel (Liverpool), Claudio Reyna (Glasgow Rangers) and defender David Regis (FC Metz).
Also included were four players with German teams Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Frankie Hejduk (Bayer Leverkusen), Jovan Kirovski (Borussia Dortmund) and Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin) plus two players based in the Netherlands, defender Gregg Berhalter (Cambuur) and midfielder John O'Brien (Ajax Amsterdam).
"his is as close to a full team that we've had since I've been coach," Arena said. "Obviously this is a critical year for us with World Cup qualifying approaching at the end of summer, so it's important for us to start on a positive note. We want to make some real progress in 2000, but that can only be measured by what we do when qualifying starts."
The remaining 25 players are from MLS, including six players from champion DC United: Jeff Agoos, Carlos Llamosa, Ben Olsen, Tom Presthus, Carey Talley and Richie Williams.
Veterans invited include goalkeeper Tony Meola (the starter at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups), defender Marcelo Balboa, midfielder Cobi Jones and forward Eric Wynalda.
After the game against Iran, the Americans play an exhibition against Chile on Jan. 29 in Coquimbo. The U.S. team then goes to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region, opening with two games in Miami, against Haiti on Feb. 12 and Peru on Feb. 16.
Two Political Parties Formed in Iran
TEHRAN - XINHUA - Two new political parties officially announced their existence in Iran on Friday, one day before the country started to register candidates for the sixth Majlis (parliament) elections slated on February 18, local daily Tehran Times reported on Saturday.
The political platforms of the two parties, Independence Iran Party (IIP) and Iran Unity Party (IUP), are not clear so far. |
In its statement, the IIP said the party was formed to "coordinate efforts to secure suitable economic, social and cultural conditions for the Iranian people in a way that they will be able to determine their own fate."
Meanwhile, the IUP, which is based in the central holy city of Qom, underlined the importance of the implementation of the constitution, recognition of national sovereignty, respect of citizens' rights and defense of human dignity.
Iranian Interior Ministry announced a week-long period starting Saturday for candidates to register for the February parliamentary polling, which is believed to be key to a new balance of power in the country. Both the hard-line conservatives, who now dominate the Majlis, and the reformist moderates have launched their election campaigns striving to win a majority in the Majlis, whose current 270 seats will be increased to 290 after the polling.
However, Iranian political analysts believe that independent candidates will play an important role in the polling.
Pollution Engulfs Iranian Capital
The Associated Press|
TEHRAN, Iran -Iranian authorities have asked people suffering from heart and asthma problems to remain indoors after air pollution in the capital, Tehran, reached dangerous levels Wednesday, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Authorities have also ordered kindergartens and elementary schools to remain closed Thursday and have imposed unspecified traffic restrictions.
The agency did not say how high pollution levels had reached.
Last year, several thousand schools were shut down after air pollution reached more than six times the acceptable level set by the World Health Organization.
The city's fleet of old cars emit noxious exhaust fumes. Most of the cars are more than 20 years old and according to official estimates, they account for 75 percent of Tehran's pollution.
Iran: Sanctions Hamper Y2K Efforts
By Afshin Valinejad|
Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran -The U.S. trade sanctions against Iran are hampering the country's efforts to prepare for the millennium computer bug, Iran's top Y2K official said Tuesday, but he added that he did not foresee any major disruption.
"Some (government) organizations told us they were trying to buy some U.S. equipment and parts, but they did not succeed because of the sanctions," said Mohammad Sepehri-Rad, head of the Supreme Council for Information Technology.
"They asked us to help them through international organizations, and we tried, but to no avail," Sepehri-Rad said at a Tehran news conference, without saying which organizations had been contacted.
One of the companies that asked for help, he said, was the Arak oil refinery, a large facility in Iran's central Markazi province. It was the only oil facility that faced potential problems because nearly all of its equipment was U.S.-made, Sepehri-Rad said.
New Y2K-compliant equipment was being installed at the refinery, he said, adding that he did not know if the new equipment was American-made.
Most of Iran's technology was bought from the United States before the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran, however, has been unable to get U.S. help to modify computer-controlled systems for the millennium bug because of the trade embargo, which was put in place following the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by revolutionary militants.
Last week, Sepehri-Rad had warned his countrymen they could face breakdowns in the oil, electricity, communications, transport and health sectors because of Y2K.
But Tuesday he modified that prognosis, telling reporters "no problem is expected in any Iranian organization" because emergency plans had been put into place, and because all workers were trained to perform computer tasks manually.
"We do not expect any problem in oil exports, refineries and any kind of oil and gas industries," Sepehri-Rad said.
International Monitoring, a technology consulting group based in Britain, has ranked Iran as "moderately prepared" for the millennium bug.
The bug is expected to hit mostly older computer systems and programs that recognize only the last two digits of a year. Such systems won't be able to distinguish the year 2000 from 1900, leading to possible malfunctions.