- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2005

RUSSIA

7 militants killed as troops raid house

ROSTOV-ON-DON — Hundreds of security officers stormed an apartment building yesterday in southern Russia, killing seven suspected Islamic extremists linked to Chechen rebels and ending a two-day standoff.

Black smoke billowed from the building in Nalchik, the regional capital of the province of Kabardino-Balkariya, near Chechnya, as police and Interior Ministry troops fired automatic weapons and hurled grenades. The gunmen returned fire, wounding two police officers, the Interior Ministry said.

After a five-hour shootout, authorities found seven bodies, Interior Ministry spokesman Alexei Polyansky said, including the wife of one of the militants and their 8-month-old child.

SOUTH KOREA

North suspected of buying nuke weapon

SEOUL — North Korea appears to have bought a complete nuclear weapon from either Pakistan or a former Soviet Union state, a South Korean newspaper said yesterday, quoting a source in Washington.

Seoul Shinmun quoted the source as saying the United States was checking the intelligence.

The purchase was apparently intended to avoid nuclear weapons testing that could be detected from the outside, the source was quoted as saying.

North Korea is believed to have one or two nuclear weapons and possibly more than eight.

INDONESIA

Aceh rebels agree to peace talks

HELSINKI — Indonesian ministers and exiled rebel leaders seeking the independence of the tsunami-devastated Aceh province agreed with Finnish mediators yesterday to hold face-to-face talks about ending nearly 30 years of fighting.

Finland’s former President Martti Ahtisaari, a veteran mediator, met the Indonesian officials and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels separately and persuaded them to talk directly — a breakthrough in itself compared with previous mediated negotiations.

Aceh bore the brunt of last month’s Indian Ocean disaster but the tragedy prompted offers of a cease-fire and the renewed peace efforts, which were disrupted 21 months ago in the conflict that has killed about 12,000 people since 1976.

BRITAIN

Troops will replace Dutch in Iraq

LONDON — Britain will send another 220 troops to Iraq to fill the gap left when Dutch forces pull out as planned in March, the government said yesterday.

Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said military chiefs had decided that a force of nearly 600 was enough to cover the southern province of Muthanna, now patrolled by 1,400 Dutch soldiers.

TAIWAN

Ties with Grenada severed over China

TAIPEI — Taiwan yesterday severed diplomatic relations with Grenada after receiving formal notification from the Caribbean state that it had established official ties with China, the Foreign Ministry said.

This means Taiwan is now recognized by just 25 countries, mostly small states in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific.

FRANCE

Jackal wins case at rights court

STRASBOURG — The European Court of Human Rights said yesterday that France had failed to give the killer known as “Carlos the Jackal” proper legal recourse against his solitary confinement of more than eight years.

But it rejected his argument that he had been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, and acknowledged France’s problems in dealing with one of the world’s most notorious killers.

The court ordered the French authorities to pay Carlos the Jackal $6,500 or his legal costs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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