- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Russia, Japan fail to reach peace pact

TOKYO Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori made little progress in talks yesterday on a peace treaty delayed for decades by a territorial dispute.
Tokyo and Moscow established diplomatic relations in 1956, but have never signed a treaty ending World War II. Yesterday's talks included a discussion of Tokyo's claims on Russian-controlled islands north of Japan. Tokyo has insisted on a deal on the islands as a condition for concluding a peace treaty.
Japan and Russia are trying to wrap up a peace treaty by the end of this year. The main obstacle has been the dispute over the four Kurile Islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, which Soviet troops occupied in the closing days of the war.

Crash-linked object may be from U.S. jet

PARIS A 17-inch metal strip suspected of having caused the tire blowout that triggered the Air France Concorde disaster may be from a jet belonging to the American carrier Continental Airlines.
A similar piece was found missing from engine cowling on a Continental DC-10 that took off from Charles de Gaulle airport minutes before the July 25 crash that killed 113 persons.
The investigators' initial findings suggested that the strip had punctured one of the Concorde's tires, hurling debris into the wing and piercing the fuel tanks, which then burst into flames.

Colombia battles rage amid talk of cease-fire

BOGOTA, Colombia Fierce clashes between the Colombian army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) raged yesterday, one day after the government and the FARC announced they had agreed to begin cease-fire talks later this month.
Eight soldiers and 20 guerrillas died in fighting in western Choco and Risaralda departments yesterday, Gen. Fernando Tapias, commander of Colombia's armed forces, said on the radio station RCN.
And in the northern department of Guajira, FARC rebels killed seven policemen during an attack on the town of Tomarrazon. More than one hundred people have died since the FARC launched an offensive following President Clinton's visit to Colombia Aug. 30.

Annan rejects planfor U.N. force

LONDON U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan poured cold water yesterday on British calls for the creation of a U.N. rapid-reaction force that could be deployed on peacekeeping operations at short notice.
"The member states have shown no interest and no inclination" for such a force, Mr. Annan said from New York during a video conference with experts and journalists at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) in London.

French truck strikes fuel gasoline panic

PARIS French motorists formed long lines at gas pumps in a surge of panic buying yesterday as truck drivers and farmers paralyzed fuel distribution across the country in the second wave of strikes within days over spiralling prices.
Watched at a distance by police who refused to intervene, protesters sealed off around 60 of the country's 70 main oil installations, using trucks and farm vehicles to prevent fuel tankers entering or leaving.

Sri Lankan troops win back key areas

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Fighter jets pounded Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna Peninsula and government troops repulsed a Tamil rebel counterattack yesterday in a massive government offensive. At least 344 combatants have been killed.
More than 1,000 other soldiers and rebels were wounded in the government offensive that began Sunday around the city of Jaffna, which the rebels have been trying to take since April and make the capital of a Tamil homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
The military said its offensive had succeeded. It said the rebels were pushed from areas they captured in April and May in the insurgents' offensive that brought them within miles of Jaffna city before they were halted.

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