- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2000

NATO denies a lid on bombing report

BRUSSELS NATO denied yesterday that it had suppressed a U.S. Air Force report showing NATO warplanes destroyed far fewer Serbian military targets in Kosovo than originally claimed, as Newsweek magazine said in its latest issue.
NATO spokesman Mark Laity said the report was only one study among others that made up a larger report on the effectiveness of the air strikes.
The Newsweek article said the combined NATO air armada had destroyed only 14 tanks, 18 armored personnel carriers and 20 artillery pieces in 78 days of aerial bombardment of Kosovo, instead of 120 tanks, 220 armored personnel carriers and up to 450 artillery and mortar pieces claimed by NATO.
Newsweek said the report was suppressed and a new one ordered, which gave a more favorable hit rate to NATO.

London raps inquiries on pregnant Mrs. Blair

LONDON A top government official yesterday made a searing attack on the British media for prying into the details of the pregnancy of Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cherie.
After several newspaper reports on Mrs. Blair's pregnancy, the BBC weighed in Monday with a report that therapist, Bharti Vyas, recommends expectant mothers get their partners to massage them in the days and weeks before birth.
Mr. Blair's spokesman responded with a stinging statement, saying the only people involved in prenatal preparations were the parents, their doctor and the hospital.

sraeli ceremonies celebrate freedom

JERUSALEM Israel kicked off celebrations marking the 52nd anniversary of its independence yesterday with a ceremony at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl opened by parliament Speaker Avraham Burg.
The celebrations are to last 24 hours, and they follow the memorial day devoted to Israelis who fell in the country's various battles.

Military chiefs quit in Ecuador

QUITO, Ecuador The heads of Ecuador's navy, air force and joint chiefs of staff all presented their resignations yesterday, the government said without providing a reason.
The resignations came during a military trial of the former head of the joint chiefs of staff and 117 midranking officers for their parts in a brief, bloodless coup that overthrew President Jamil Mahuad in January.

Venezuela officials pressure media

CARACAS, Venezuela A leading Venezuelan journalist accused President Hugo Chavez yesterday of forcing the country's top private channel to take his popular television show off the air.
Napoleon Bravo, whose current affairs program "24 hours" was the most-watched breakfast-time show in the South American country, said he had received several death threats by telephone before the program was abruptly stopped last week. He said the telephone calls had been traced to a government security bureau.

Britain replies to plan by IRA to disarm

BELFAST The British Army will close two bases and abandon three observation posts in Northern Ireland, the province's police chief said yesterday, in response to the Irish Republican Army's move to disarm.
"Notwithstanding a significant ongoing threat posed by dissidents, the weekend's events represent a real lowering of the overall threat," said Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Taiwan's new leader cautious on China

TAIPEI, Taiwan Taiwanese President-elect Chen Shui-bian, seeking to mend fences with rival China, said yesterday he will neither provoke the island's giant communist neighbor, nor give in too much.
"I was told not to make too many concessions or shrink in dealing with cross-strait issues," Mr. Chen told reporters after a courtesy call on former Defense Minister Soong Chang-shih.
"But at the same time, we cannot overly provoke the Chinese Communists," said Mr. Chen, who takes office on May 20.

* Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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