- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2001

Tanker captain seized in Galapagos spill

PUERTO BAQUERIZO, Galapagos Islands As rangers worked yesterday to net wildlife stained and dazed by an oil spill, authorities arrested the captain of the leaking tanker and pledged stronger protections for these islands renowned for their unique animals and birds.

Capt. Tarquino Arevalo and 13 crewmen from the tanker Jessica were ordered confined to a military base on San Cristobal island pending formal charges, Merchant Marines Vice Adm. Gonzalo Vega said yesterday.

Liberia asks monitors on diamond exports

NEW YORK Facing the threat of U.N. sanctions for purported diamond and arms trafficking with Sierra Leone's rebels, Liberia said yesterday it wants the world body to monitor its airports and borders and to oversee diamond exports.

Liberian Foreign Minister Monie Captan said his country has already grounded all Liberian-registered aircraft, announced a policy of disengagement from Sierra Leone and asked all members of Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Front to leave Liberia immediately.

Iraq says warplane was hit by missile

BAGHDAD Iraq said its anti-aircraft missile defenses had hit one of a group of Western warplanes yesterday as they patrolled a no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

But the U.S. European Command said in a statement issued from Germany that no U.S. or British jets were hit, adding that all aircraft returned safely to Turkey after attacking Iraqi air-defense targets in the zone.

Colombia urges rebels to return to talks

BOGOTA, Colombia, Colombian President Andres Pastrana yesterday urged leftist rebels to return to peace talks as troops mustered near a guerrilla safe haven days before a deadline that could mean war or peace.

Mr. Pastrana must decide by Jan. 31 whether to allow the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to remain in an area the size of Switzerland that he granted the rebels two years ago to start talks to end a 36-year old civil war. He has renewed the FARC's control of the area six times in the past.

Growing public impatience with the peace process has put Mr. Pastrana under pressure to get tough with Colombia's largest rebel guerrilla force.

Reformers to install Djindjic over Serbia

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia Almost four months after the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic, the reformers who ousted him are set today to form a new government in Yugoslavia's dominant republic of Serbia.

The Serbian parliament's approval of a government led by Zoran Djindjic, who played a key role in ousting Mr. Milosevic as Yugoslav president, is seen as a formality after the reform alliance scored a crushing victory in December elections.

Chechnya claims killing six Russian soldiers

SLEPTSOVSK, Russia Six Russian servicemen have been killed and 18 wounded in rebel attacks on federal outposts in Chechnya, a spokesman for Chechnya rebel President Aslan Maskhadov said yesterday.

Two Russian soldiers were killed in a three-hour battle between rebel guerrillas and federal troops in the city of Argun, six miles to the east of the capital, Grozny, Mr. Maskhadov's spokesman said by telephone.

Four more Russians were killed and 18 wounded in a rebel attack in Grozny itself, he said.

Half of Bolivia declared a disaster

LA PAZ, Bolivia Bolivia declared almost half the Andean country a natural-disaster area yesterday after four weeks of heavy rain left many of its roads unusable and forced 20,000 people out of their homes.

The move freed up $623,000 in federal aid relief for the poor South American country's La Paz, Oruro, Beni and Cochabamba districts.

But the country's civil defense agency said it needs at least $4.6 million to help more than 20,000 Bolivians who have been forced to leave their homes or seen them destroyed by overflowing rivers and the heavy rainfall that has hammered Bolivia all month.

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