- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2000

Mysterious blast hits London spy center

LONDON A mysterious explosion near the central London headquarters of MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, late yesterday sent investigators scurrying for answers.

Later last night police identified the cause of the blast as a "small missile, but gave no further details. There were no reports of any casualties.

Alan Fry, head of the police anti-terrorist branch, told reporters at the scene of the explosion early today that the missile had hit the eighth floor of the high-security building but had caused only minimal damage.

Mr. Fry was unable to say who had fired the missile, but added: "Clearly I have to keep in mind the capability of dissident Irish groups, but at this stage I would not be ruling out any other group who might see the secret intelligence service as a potential target."

Seize the moment, OAS tells Peruvians

LIMA, Peru President Alberto Fujimori's decision to call elections and exit the political stage has presented Peru with a golden opportunity to restore full democracy and it should seize it, the head of the Organization of American States said yesterday.
"I think we have a totally new situation … I think we have a great opportunity for reconciliation, bringing back full democracy for all the institutions in Peru," Cesar Gaviria said in Washington.
Mr. Gaviria was speaking shortly before the government and opposition parties had been due to resume talks stalled by a lurid corruption scandal involving Peru's spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, that triggered Mr. Fujimori's bombshell.

U.S. hostage asks for end of attacks

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines U.S. hostage Jeffrey Schilling has told Philippine radio he is alive and urged the military to stop attacking his captors, according to a telephone interview with the American, monitored in the southern Philippines early today.
"I'm alive. I'm fine. The Philippine government seems to believe that by declaring me dead and sacrificing my life, they can eliminate the Abu Sayyaf.
"But the group will escape as soon as I'm dead," he told DXRZ, which said it interviewed Mr. Schilling late yesterday.

Mysterious blast hits London spy center

LONDON Emergency services were called to an explosion last night near the central London headquarters of MI6, Britain's foreign-intelligence agency, police said.
A spokesman for the London ambulance service said no casualties were reported, but emergency services had sealed off the area around the site of the explosion.
Sky News television reported that army bomb-disposal officers were at the scene checking for any unexploded devices.

India plans pullout from Sierra Leone

NEW YORK India, which heads the U.N. military operation in Sierra Leone, intends to withdraw its troops from the country, leaving U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to find a new commander shortly, Indian officials reported yesterday.
Mr. Annan may replace Maj. Gen. Vijay Jetley as head of the peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone as early as next week, while India plans to scale down its forces at a time the United Nations wants to increase contingents in the beleaguered West African nation.
"We have conveyed to the [U.N.] secretariat we would like to withdraw from Sierra Leone," a spokesman from India's U.N. mission said.

Bolivian army poised to battle protesters

LA PAZ, Bolivia Army intervention to dismantle roadblocks appeared imminent late yesterday as Bolivians protested government policies for a third day, particularly a proposal to build military bases in the Chapare region.
More than 15,000 coca-leaf growers have joined in the protest that commenced Monday at Villa Tunari, some 370 miles east of La Paz and where two military units were on their way late yesterday.
The coca growers are determined to reverse the government's anti-drug policies, which include a partnership with the United States to eradicate all coca plantations in Chapare.
"Coca forever, Yankees never," the farmers chanted.

Report on women hits bias, violence

LONDON The world's women endure 80 million unwanted pregnancies, 20 million unsafe abortions and millions of beatings and rapes each year, despite major improvements in their lot at the end of the 20th century, according to a U.N. report published yesterday.
The report by the U.N. Population Fund said discrimination and violence against women "remain firmly rooted in cultures around the world," stopping many from reaching their full potential.
"Passed down from one generation to the next, ideas about 'real men' and 'a woman's place' are instilled at an early age and are difficult to change," the report said.
The "State of World Population Report 2000" said girls and women the world over are still routinely denied access to education and health care including control over their reproductive activity and to equal pay and legal rights.

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