- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Western diplomats plead in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — Western diplomats arrived in Kabul yesterday to plead for the release of their jailed nationals, accused by the ruling Taliban of preaching Christianity in this devoutly Muslim nation.

Taliban officials have told the diplomats that they will not be allowed to visit the jailed aid workers — two Americans, four Germans and two Australians who have been imprisoned for more than one week.

Arriving aboard a U.N. aircraft, the diplomats from the United States, Germany and Australia said they would meet the Taliban authorities and try to persuade them to let them visit the detained aid workers.

Genoa court orders release of foreigners

VOGHERA, Italy — A court ordered the release from prison yesterday of three Americans and 17 Europeans arrested in connection with violence at last month's Group of Eight summit in Italy.

Susanna Thomas, 21, from Warren, N.J.; Andre Patrick Stoffel, born in 1978 and from Illinois; and Brian Sating, born in 1965, from Ohio, still face charges carrying a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.

The hometowns and exact ages of the two American men were not immediately available.

Peru's new president changes military chiefs

LIMA, Peru — Peru's new president has replaced his top military chiefs, two weeks after promising to restructure the armed forces following a decade of authoritarian rule, the Defense Ministry said yesterday.

At the head of the air force, Lt. Gen. Jorge del Carpio replaces Gen. Miguel Angel Medina. In the navy, Vice Adm. Alfredo Palacios replaces Adm. Luis Vargas. Gen. Victor Bustamante replaces Gen. Jose Cacho in the army.

The changes — the third since November — are part of an ongoing move to purge Peru's military of officers linked to former President Alberto Fujimori's ex-intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Reformists, hard-liners criticize Iran leader

TEHRAN — Mohammad Khatami's proposed Cabinet has prompted criticism from hard-liners and reformists alike, forcing the centrist president to join intense lobbying efforts ahead of Sunday's parliamentary vote.

Reformist lawmaker Ali Tajernia said yesterday that Mr. Khatami and various factions within the parliament have begun behind-the-scenes discussions of the proposed list of Cabinet members.

Mr. Tajernia said Mr. Khatami has approached the largest legislative party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front — led by the president's brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami — asking members to approve his list.

U.S. soldier recalls 1986 German bombing

BERLIN — A U.S. soldier injured in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque testified yesterday at the trial of the accused attackers that he still carries fears from the explosion.

"I look whenever I go in somewhere if there are two exits. I don't like it when someone sits behind me," Clarence Nathan Rambo, 37, who didn't give his hometown, told the court.

Two American soldiers and a Turkish woman were killed in the bombing at the La Belle disco, which also injured more than 200. Citing evidence of Libyan involvement in the bombing, President Reagan ordered retaliatory air strikes on two Libyan cities.

Mr. Rambo is one of the co-plaintiffs seeking damages in the case, in which five non-Libyans have been on trial since 1997.

Panicked passengers ground leaking plane

MADRID — A Spanish charter jet pilot who brushed off an obvious fuel leak as "normal" was forced to abort his takeoff from Madrid when panicked passengers stood up and loudly demanded he remain on the tarmac, Spanish television station TVE reported yesterday.

Amateur video images taken by a passenger showed a stream of fuel gushing out of the Airbus A310's left-wing tank while the aircraft — carrying 253 passengers headed for the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean — taxied toward the runway.

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