- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2001

Conservatives block Iran parliament

TEHRAN More than a third of Iran's deputies, most of them conservatives, boycotted a parliamentary session yesterday over a controversial measure to make businesses reimburse billions of dollars, state television said.

The bill already rejected by the conservative-controlled Guardians Council would force businesses to pay back $6 billion to the government because of a generous exchange-rate policy introduced after the war with Iraq.

U.S. oil worker found dead in Ecuador

QUITO, Ecuador A Missouri oil worker kidnapped with four other Americans has been found dead, shot five times in the back and covered with a sheet that said he had been killed because the oil company refused to pay ransom, authorities said yesterday.

The victim was identified as Ronald Sander, a technician with Tulsa, Okla.-based Helmerich & Payne Inc., who was seized in October in a jungle region near the Colombia border that has grown increasingly lawless in recent years.

South Africa's Mbeki to visit Cuba

HAVANA South African President Thabo Mbeki will visit Cuba this year for a trip underlining his nation's gratitude to President Fidel Castro's government for support during the anti-apartheid struggle, officials said yesterday.

The Mbeki visit was announced in a joint news conference by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and his South African counterpart, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Peru journalist flees, fears persecution

LIMA, Peru A journalist under investigation for airing testimony saying interim President Valentin Paniagua had links with Peru's fugitive ex-spy chief flew to Costa Rica yesterday, claiming he was being persecuted, the Central American nation's ambassador said.

Ambassador Delsa Rangel said Nicolas Lucar was granted a 30-day, renewable tourist visa.

"He felt persecuted and that his family was in danger," Mr. Rangel told reporters.

Riots flare again in Kosovo city

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia NATO-led peacekeepers chased demonstrators through the streets of this troubled city yesterday to disperse ethnic Albanian crowds rioting near a base used by French soldiers.

German, French and British soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse rioters in the predominantly ethnic Albanian section of Kosovska Mitrovica. The industrial city has been rocked by unrest since Monday, when a 15-year-old ethnic Albanian was killed in a grenade attack.

Indonesian leader vows to stay on

JAKARTA, Indonesia Besieged Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid will not quit in the face of a parliamentary censure that could lead to his eventual impeachment, his chief spokesman said today.

Wimar Witoelar also said Mr. Wahid was unhappy with parliament's censure.

"The president will carry out his duty until 2004. He is unhappy with the result of the [parliament]," he told reporters.

Parliament yesterday agreed to reprimand the Indonesian leader for acting improperly over two corruption scandals, fueling speculation he will not survive until his term ends in 2004.

U.S. citizen freed from Israeli prison

JERUSALEM A U.S. citizen arrested last month by Israeli authorities at the Gaza City, Gaza Strip, airport was released yesterday, a prison official said.

Steve Adams, 39, who is also known as Mohammed Blata, from Toledo, Ohio, was detained without explanation Dec. 27 after visiting relatives in Gaza during a Muslim holiday and was taken to Israel's Ashkelon prison.

Mr. Adams was interrogated by Israel's Shin Bet secret service, said his attorney, Naeem Zahalki.

Angola denies claim 22 die in plane attack

LUANDA, Angola Angola's UNITA rebels said they shot down a government army plane yesterday, killing all 22 persons aboard, but the Luanda government denied the claim saying the attack had injured only three soldiers on board.

Church-run Radio Ecclesia reported that UNITA had shot down the Russian-built Antonov AN-26 when it was trying to land near Luena, capital of the eastern province of Moxico.

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