- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2000

OAS chief seeks to stem Peru crisis

LIMA, Peru Latin America's top diplomat tried to stem Peru's fast-escalating political crisis yesterday as President Alberto Fujimori appeared to be scrambling to tighten his grip on the military.
Cesar Gaviria, head of the Organization of American States (OAS), met the president and opposition leaders, hoping to restore stability by persuading them to resume talks over how to guide the Andean nation through a transition to elections next year.
But outside the presidential palace, rumors denied by police swirled that Mr. Fujimori had arrested his disgraced former top aide and ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, who most Peruvians believe has largely controlled the military top brass for the past decade.
Amid the rumors, one demonstrator paraded through central Lima in a cage wearing striped, prison-style garb and a mask of the former spy chief.

Castro begins visit to Venezuela for oil

CARACAS, Venezuela Cuban President Fidel Castro stands to boost his diplomatic credibility while being feted as a revolutionary on a five-day trip to Venezuela that begins today, analysts said.
The trip will be the Communist leader's first state visit to the oil-producing country in 40 years and, according to analysts, marks an important moment in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's bid to expand his influence in the region.
On Monday, the two leaders will sign a bilateral agreement for Venezuela to provide Cuba with cheap oil designed to alleviate the island's chronic fuel shortage.

Villagers kill 25 who seized Sinhalese

BANDARAWELA, Sri Lanka Angry that former Tamil rebel child soldiers took a Sinhalese officer hostage, thousands of villagers stormed a rehabilitation center yesterday, killing 25 of the former fighters with stones, knives and swords.
After seizing the officer late Tuesday, the former Tamil Tiger fighters who ranged in age from 14 to 25 shut off the lights in the government-run center, chased off the staff, closed the gates and demanded to be set free.
About 3,000 villagers stormed the center at dawn yesterday, killing 25 of the onetime child soldiers two of whom were beaten to death with iron rods, said Rienzie Perera, a police spokesman in Colombo.

Plane carrying 75 crashes in Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia A Russian Defense Ministry plane with 75 persons on board crashed into a Georgian mountain yesterday while trying to land in bad weather, officials said.
The plane went down near the town of Batumi, the capital of southwest Georgia's Adzharia region, said Nato Zazashvili, a spokeswoman for the Adzharian government.
The cause of the crash and information about the fate of those aboard were not immediately known.

Vatican documents on WWII sought

PARIS Catholic and Jewish historians reviewing the Roman Catholic Church's role during the Holocaust have found the Vatican's version of events wanting and asked the Holy See to open its archives, a French newspaper reported yesterday.
The six-member team asked for more details on cases where the church's incomplete explanations have raised charges that wartime Pope Pius XII turned a blind eye to the Nazi slaughter of Jews, the daily Le Monde said.
The historians three Catholics and three Jews named by the Vatican last year to scour its published material on the period and point out questionable gaps planned to present their findings to a news conference in Rome today.

Extradition of Saudi in bomb plot fought

LONDON Lawyers for a Saudi businessman wanted by the United States over the deadly 1998 bombings at two of its embassies in Africa sought yesterday to block his extradition from Britain in the High Court.

Khalid Fawwaz, a Muslim in his 30s and formerly head of a group of Saudi dissidents in London, was arrested in the British capital two years ago at the request of the United States.

A U.S. grand jury has indicted him for conspiracy in the August 1998 bombings of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed at least 215 and 11 persons respectively.

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