- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2001

Israel hits militants in helicopter attack

JERUSALEM — Five Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli forces yesterday, three in a pinpoint helicopter attack and two in a clash with soldiers, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

The helicopter fired missiles at a car in which the three men were traveling near Qabatiye in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security officials said.

All three were members of the radical Islamic Jihad, Palestinian officials said. One of them, Muhammed Psharat, was on Israel's wanted list, said the officials.

Palestinian Authority media adviser Nabil Abourdeineh said the Israeli policy of assassination "will lead to the collapse" of the cease-fire.

French, Russian leaders to hold talks today

MOSCOW — The Russian and French presidents hold talks today aimed at pushing long-standing differences into the background and strengthening their personal relations after a successful prelude in St. Petersburg.

Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac flew to Moscow late yesterday from the Russian leader's hometown — a venue reserved for special guests — after a day of cultural events crowned by an informal dinner.

French criticism of the Kremlin's military drive in Chechnya and legal claims against Russian companies in French courts have soured bilateral relations since Mr. Putin's election in March 2000.

However, the two presidents met in Paris in October and the warm welcome in St. Petersburg yesterday indicated that both leaders wanted to focus on issues where they could cooperate.

Japan's Koizumi arrives in Britain

LONDON — Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrived late yesterday for a meeting with his British counterpart, Tony Blair, following weekend talks in Washington with President Bush.

The two prime ministers are to have a working lunch today, where Mr. Koizumi is expected to exchange notes on economic reforms with Mr. Blair. The latter embarked on structural changes of the British economy after taking office in 1997.

Prosecutors go ahead with Sharon case

BRUSSELS — Belgian prosecutors have requested that a case against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the 1982 massacres of hundreds of Palestinian refugees be considered admissible, Le Soir newspaper reported yesterday.

The request means that preparations for the case can proceed while a Belgian court rules on the case's admissibility.

Two class-action lawsuits are pending against Mr. Sharon in Belgium, charging him with responsibility for the 1982 massacres of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon's Sabra and Chatila refugee camps.

Bolivia's president arrives for treatment

LA PAZ, Bolivia — President Hugo Banzer transferred his constitutional powers to Vice President Jorge Quiroga yesterday before boarding a flight to Washington, where he will undergo back treatment.

Mr. Banzer said he transferred his constitutional powers in a ceremony in the VIP lounge at El Alto airport, in a suburb of La Paz.

The Bolivian president later flew to Washington to undergo 12 days of medical treatment at the Walter Reed Hospital, where he underwent surgery in January for a herniated disc.

Guinness record book gets new owner

LONDON — Drinks company Diageo Plc has agreed to sell its Guinness World Records business for $63 million in cash, the company said yesterday.

The business, which compiles, accredits and publishes information on world records, will be bought by media company Gullane Entertainment Plc.

Although Diageo owns the Guinness brewing business, Gullane will keep the name for use with the world records title, which has sold more than 80 million copies.

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