- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2001

Israelis view kidnapping tape

NEW YORK Israeli officials said edited videotapes and bloodstained items they viewed for the first time yesterday could shed light on the condition of three Israeli soldiers abducted by guerrillas on the Lebanon border last year.

But Israel's ambassador, Yehuda Lancry, said many questions remain unanswered, including whether any of the articles among them a bloodstained water pouch belonged to the Israeli soldiers kidnapped Oct. 7 in Southern Lebanon.

The United Nations agreed Tuesday to allow Israel two viewings of the videos one filmed by a U.N. peacekeeper the day after the abductions and seven of the 53 items found in vehicles believed to have been used by Hezbollah guerrillas in the kidnappings.

Jailed U.S. student leaves Russia

NEW YORK American student John Tobin returned to the United States yesterday after being paroled from a southern Russia prison on drug charges and hints of espionage that strained U.S.-Russian relations.

Mr. Tobin landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport after leaving Moscow earlier in the day.

His case drew international attention and cooled Washington's relations with Moscow when Russian security police repeatedly said the 24-year-old Mr. Tobin was training to be a spy, without ever pressing charges.

IRA pledges move on weapons

BELFAST The Irish Republican Army confirmed early today that it is committed to putting arms "completely and verifiably beyond use" in an effort to save Northern Ireland's peace process from collapse.

An article in the Catholic guerrilla group's leading newspaper and accounts in the British press detailed the IRA's promises on an issue that has stalled the peace process with the majority Protestants.

Meanwhile, most in political circles seem increasingly convinced that the Anglo-Irish peace deal will fail.

Italy concedes police used excessive force

ROME Italy's police chief acknowledged for the first time yesterday that some police units used "excessive" force against demonstrators at last month's Group of Eight summit. He also suggested abuses may have occurred after protesters were in custody.

The admissions are likely to fuel accusations of police brutality that have poured in from Europe and elsewhere.

Vatican suspends excommunication threat

VATICAN CITY With talks beginning, the Vatican said Wednesday that it has suspended its threat to excommunicate a Zambian archbishop who was married in one of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's mass weddings.

The announcement came a day after Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo had an audience with Pope John Paul II in what the Vatican said was the start of a dialogue it hoped could "lead to positive developments."

Russia modifies sub rescue plans

LONDON Russian officials defended their plans yesterday to leave the front part of nuclear submarine Kursk on the seabed though it may contain the most important clue to the cause of the disaster.

Unexploded torpedoes in that part of the wreckage could cause another disaster if an attempt is made to raise it, Vice Adm. Mikhail Barskov said in London.

N. Korean heads home from Moscow summit

MOSCOW North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with Russian President Vladimir Putin before leaving Moscow yesterday, heading home on a secrecy-shrouded train journey across Russia's expanse.

Details of Mr. Kim's brief meeting with Mr. Putin in the Kremlin were not released. It came after Mr. Kim abruptly canceled sightseeing plans in the Russian capital and spent much of the day in his deluxe hotel suite.

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