- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2000

Boat crew kills 5 in mystery attack

BELIZE CITY, Belize Halfway through a commuter boat ride, three crew members suddenly opened fire on the captain and passengers, killing at least five persons and throwing surviving women and children overboard, authorities said Thursday.
Three survivors said they spent 17 hours floating together in the Gulf of Honduras until a fisherman discovered them Thursday morning. Others drowned one by one as they waited for rescue.
"They just opened fire like nothing, like crazy. They just shot," said 21-year-old passenger Evelyn Rojas, describing the assault Wednesday on the boat Maria Estela, which had been taking passengers from Guatemala to Belize.
There was no known motive for the attack.

Ethiopia waits talks, reports new fighting

ALGIERS Ethiopia and Eritrea mulled peace proposals before the scheduled resumption of indirect talks in Algiers Friday, but Addis Ababa reported renewed fighting a day after it declared their 2-year-old border war over.
The Ethiopian government accused Eritrea of attacking its positions on the eastern front Thursday, saying Eritrean shellfire killed two civilians and wounded eight.
There were no other Ethiopian reports of fighting and no immediate comment from Asmara.

U.N. aides seek to fix Sierra Leone mission

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone A team of senior U.N. officials was due in Freetown Friday to look at ways of repairing the troubled peacekeeping mission thrown into crisis after the country plunged back into civil war last month.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has staked the world body's credibility in Africa on the success of the U.N. mission, which with 11,445 troops now on the ground is the largest U.N. peacekeeping operation anywhere in the world.
Embarrassed U.N. officials Thursday conceded that in recent fighting around the town of Lunsar rebels have been using equipment stolen from the almost 500 U.N. troops taken hostage last month by the rebels and later released.

Balloonist fails in bid to cross North Pole

LONDON A British adventurer fell agonizingly short of becoming the first person to fly over the North Pole in a balloon but had the consolation of being able to claim a first by making it over the Arctic Ocean.
David Hempelman-Adams, 44, was told by his flight controllers early Thursday to abort his mission just 13 miles short of the Pole because of strong winds and exhaustion.
He lifted off on Sunday from Longyearbyen, the main town on Norway's Svalbard Islands, for a 600-mile solo flight in a 80-foot-tall helium balloon.

North Ireland rivals resume governing

BELFAST Protestants and Catholics gathered around Northern Ireland's Cabinet table Thursday to resume governing the province, and later warned two Protestant hard-liners who boycotted the meeting not to "wage a guerrilla war" against the coalition.
David Trimble and Seamus Mallon, the senior Protestant and Catholic officials in the four-party administration created under a 1998 peace accord, oversaw a four-hour meeting at Stormont Parliamentary Building.
It was their first since February, when Britain suspended the administration's powers to prevent its collapse over unresolved Protestant demands for the Irish Republican Army to disarm.

U.S. burning crops, Iraqi general charges

BAGHDAD Iraq said Thursday that Western aircraft had attacked northern Iraq this week using "flare bombs" intended to burn crops and civilian installations.
Lt. Gen. Yassin Jasem, spokesman for the Iraqi anti-aircraft defenses, told a news conference such bombs are usually fired at anti-aircraft missiles, but that U.S. planes were using them to burn crops and terrify people.
The official Iraqi News Agency quoted a military spokesman as saying Western aircraft dropped such "flare bombs" on Wednesday before being driven off by Iraqi anti-aircraft defenses.


From wire dispatches and staff reports

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