- The Washington Times - Monday, November 27, 2000

Temblor rattles Azerbaijan, kills two

BAKU, Azerbaijan A natural gas explosion triggered by earthquake damage tore through three stories of an apartment building in Azerbaijan's capital yesterday, officials said. Two persons were crushed to death by rubble.

The blast jarred residents of Baku already shaken by the Saturday-night quake, which killed three persons and injured more than 100. After a chilly night huddling around bonfires in parks and parking lots, residents of this oil-rich Caspian port began returning to their homes yesterday and cleaning up quake damage.

Swiss reject attempt to cut back army

GENEVA Swiss voters pledged resounding support to their citizen army yesterday, throwing out a left-of-center attempt to slash military spending in the neutral Alpine nation.

"The people want an army, a real army," said President Adolf Ogi, who also is the country's defense minister. "The people don't want half measures, either with the army or national security policy."

Some 1.1 million voters, or 62 percent, rejected the proposal to cut military spending and use the funds for social programs. Only 722,797 persons, or nearly 38 percent, voted in favor.

Gunmen kidnap Hyundai manager

BOGOTA Heavily armed gunmen kidnapped the manager of Korean car and truck manufacturer Hyundai late Saturday, at a weekend country retreat outside the capital Bogota, authorities said yesterday.

Gun-wielding kidnappers snatched Lazaro Montes, the Colombian manager for Hyundai Motor Co. at around 7 p.m. from a small farm near the town of Silvania around 40 miles southwest of Bogota, police said.

Charges expected soon in Cole bombing

ADEN, Yemen Yemeni investigators are ready to charge at least two persons in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, a source said yesterday, six weeks after an explosion tore through the warship as it sat in Aden's harbor and killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Charges are expected to be filed as soon as this week against the two suspects, the source said. They could be sentenced to death if convicted.

In addition to those killed, 39 sailors were injured Oct. 12, when two suicide bombers steered a small boat laden with explosives alongside the Cole and detonated it while the destroyer was refueling. U.S. and Yemeni officials have said the attack appeared to be a carefully planned, well-financed operation, and the bomb materials were expertly prepared.

Saddam increases food rations

BAGHDAD President Saddam Hussein increased food rations for Iraqis yesterday, then doubled them to mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the official Iraqi News Agency reported.

The monthly ration of rice was raised 18 percent to 7.7 pounds, sugar went up 25 percent to 5.5 pounds, cooking oil 40 percent to 3.85 pounds and tea 67 percent to 250 grams, the Trade Ministry said.

Iraqis are entitled to double those new rations for December to mark the beginning Monday of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, the president announced.

Yugoslav tanks near Kosovo border region

BUJANOVAC, Yugoslavia Yugoslav's army sent tanks and reinforcements near the NATO-patrolled boundary with Kosovo yesterday, one day before Yugoslavia's deadline for NATO to crack down on ethnic Albanian militants whose attacks have inflamed the region.

Kosovo is a province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's main republic, but it has been under international control since last year and many residents want full independence. In the three-mile-wide buffer zone between central Serbia and Kosovo, attacks by independence-minded militants last week left at least four Serbian policemen dead.

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