- The Washington Times - Monday, November 20, 2000

Kursk crew did not issue SOS, official says

MOSCOW A top Russian official claimed yesterday that sounds initially called distress signals from the crew of the sunken submarine Kursk instead came from a different vessel in the area.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov suggested the vessel may have been making the signals after colliding with the Kursk, causing the explosions that destroyed the submarine and killed all 118 men aboard.

The cause of the disaster remains not clear. Mr. Klebanov, who leads the government commission investigating the Aug. 12 accident, has focused on the theory that the Kursk was hit by a foreign submarine, but has provided no proof. The government also is considering an explosion in the Kursk's torpedo compartment.

Queen kills bird, angering rights group

LONDON Queen Elizabeth II came under fire from animal-rights activists yesterday after she was photographed wringing the neck of a live pheasant with her bare hands during a royal shooting session.

Press reports said a hunting dog picked up the wounded bird and carried it to the queen while the Duke of Edinburgh and other guests were shooting at the royal country retreat of Sandringham.

"It was clearly the most effective and humane way of dispatching the injured bird," Buckingham Palace said in a statement after the neck-wringing photo appeared in several British newspapers.

U.S. soldier dies in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia An American soldier serving with NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a statement from the U.S. military base in the province said yesterday.

The statement from Camp Bodsteel identified the soldier as Pfc. Donald J. Heatherly, 34, of the 503rd Military Police Battalion out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

Cuba, Venezuela seek exile's extradition

PANAMA CITY Cuba and Venezuela are seeking the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile who Fidel Castro says planned to assassinate him during the weekend's Ibero-American Summit.

"Viva Panama, the land where the most famous criminal in all the hemisphere has been captured," Mr. Castro said to cheers from an audience of leftist students at the University of Panama late Saturday night.

Mr. Castro announced that his government has given Panama an official note requesting that Mr. Posada and three other men detained here on Friday be sent to Cuba. Under Cuban law, anyone born on the island is usually considered a Cuban citizen even if they adopt other nationalities.

Avalanches kill four in Austrian Alps

VIENNA, Austria Two avalanches swept away groups of skiers at separate resorts in the western province of Tyrol yesterday, killing four persons, police and rescuers said.

The first avalanche roared down a mountain at the ski resort of Obergurgl, 215 miles west of Vienna, killing three German skiers. Five members of the group, from a ski club from Mannheim, Germany, managed to free themselves from the snow.

Rescuers struggling with snow up to 20 feet deep managed to pull one man alive from the snow, but he died en route to a hospital, the Austria Press Agency reported. Bodies of a second man and a woman were found hours later.

Slaying suspect dared them, prosecutors say

MEXICO CITY A suspect jailed on suspicion of having killed a missing British woman reportedly told prosecutors in Mexico's Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo that he committed the crime, but dared them to prove it, local media reported.

State Attorney General Carlos Pereira told the government news agency Notimex on Saturday that suspect Jorge Gamboa, known as "the Cuban," told officials he killed Brenda Searle, a Dutch-born woman with British citizenship.

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