- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2000

Former prime minister of Japan dies at 76

TOKYO Former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, who was forced from office by scandal but remained a top power broker in Japanese politics, died today after a long illness, news reports said.
Kyodo News agency and national broadcaster NHK reported Mr. Takeshita, 76, had died of respiratory failure at a Tokyo hospital early today. The telephones were busy at his office, and the reports could not be immediately confirmed.
Mr. Takeshita, who served as leader from 1987 to 1989, announced his retirement from politics last month after more than a year in the hospital. He was originally hospitalized in April 1999, complaining of lower back pain.

Rights group reports detention death

BEIJING A follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement died after his release from detention in a psychiatric hospital, where he was injected with nerve-destroying drugs, a human rights group said.
Su Gang, 32, a computer engineer, was in fine health before he was sent to the hospital on May 23 but was weak, slow, stiff-limbed and unable to eat when he was released eight days later, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said, quoting Mr. Su's father.
Mr. Su died of heart failure on June 10, less than two weeks after his release, the Hong Kong-based information center said.

Iran reports killing infiltrators from Iraq

TEHRAN Iranian Revolutionary Guards killed two guerrillas of the People's Mujahedeen yesterday when they tried to infiltrate Iran from Iraq on a sabotage mission, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported
The report said the two men were killed in armed clashes at Asre-e Shirin in Kermanshah province.
Documents recovered from the guerrillas' bodies indicated that they intended to bomb part of the city of Kermanshah, including the headquarters of the Law Enforcement Forces, IRNA said.

Russians respond to hit-and-run attacks

NAZRAN, Russia Russian warplanes bombed high mountain passes near Chechnya's border with Georgia yesterday after a night of rebel hit-and-run attacks on federal police posts.
Attack jets and artillery pounded suspected concentrations of rebels in the Argun Gorge near the southern border, the North Caucasus military command's news service said.
The gorge is a key rebel refuge and supply route to Georgia, the only foreign country bordering Chechnya. Russian forces are trying to cut off and destroy guerrilla bands in the mountains.

Rebel leader acceptsIndians in government

SUVA, Fiji Rebel leader George Speight said today he would accept the appointment of ethnic Indians to the country's next government, giving new hope for an end soon to Fiji's government hostage crisis.
Heading into a new round of talks with Fiji's military rulers about the makeup of an interim administration, Mr. Speight said it was possible that ethnic Indians could be included in the appointments made by a new president.
"If that is the case, we will accept it," Mr. Speight told reporters.
Mr. Speight and an armed gang, who claim to be fighting for the rights of Fiji's indigenous majority, are holding 31 hostages in parliament.

Overpass collapses, killing driver, injuring 2

MONTREAL A man was killed and two others were seriously injured when the car they were traveling in was crushed under a collapsing overpass on a busy highway near Montreal yesterday, Quebec police said.
Firefighters and police used a crane to lift huge concrete blocks off the car to reach an unidentified man in his late 40s who was declared dead at 16:10 p.m., five hours after the accident happened.
Two men were rescued earlier from the same car and evacuated to the nearby Sacre-Coeur hospital in Montreal with serious injuries including broken bones, Montreal police said.

Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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