- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

U.N. helicopter downed over Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia Authorities in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region said a helicopter was shot down over their territory yesterday, killing five U.N. military observers and four other persons on board.

Vyacheslav Ankvad, deputy defense minister of the region's self-declared government, said there were no survivors, although investigators had not yet reached the site where the helicopter crashed because of the mountainous terrain.

Abkhazian separatists drove Georgian forces out of the Black Sea coastal province in western Georgia in a 1992-93 war that left the separatists in control.

Japanese leader makes amends in China

BEIJING Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi bowed before a Chinese memorial and apologized yesterday for World War II-era atrocities, seeking to repair frayed relations with China.

Mr. Koizumi's hastily arranged one-day visit came as Japan is offering military assistance for the U.S.-led war against terrorism. He wanted to allay concerns in China, which suffered greatly from Japanese wartime aggression, that Japan would use the campaign to revive its own military ambitions.

The Japanese prime minister angered China in August by visiting a Tokyo shrine where war criminals are among those honored.

U.S. hostage remains returned in Manila

MANILA The Philippine military yesterday handed over to U.S. officials bones and clothing believed to be from an American hostage taken by Muslim extremist guerrillas.

Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif., was one of three Americans abducted with 17 Filipinos from a resort by Abu Sayyaf guerrillas on May 27, and the extremists claimed to have killed him in June.

The remains were found in a shallow grave in the mountainous jungles of southern Basilan province. Captured rebels led soldiers to the site last week.

Fighting rages in Chechnya

ASHKOI-MARTAN, Russia Twenty-three persons, including two police officers and 18 rebels, were killed over the weekend in Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya, Russian agencies said yesterday.

Some of the deaths occurred when separatists attacked several key posts, including a police station, the public prosecutor's office and administrative buildings in Ashkoi-Martan, 21 miles southwest of the Chechen capital of Grozny.

Belize residents brace for Iris

INDEPENDENCE, Belize Belize residents with cars fled the coast yesterday while the poor boarded up windows, bracing for the arrival of this season's strongest hurricane, charging toward the Central American nation.

Hurricane Iris, described by the U.S. National Weather Service as "small but extremely dangerous," was expected to make landfall late last night or early today between the coasts of Belize, Honduras and Guatemala.

Authorities in Belize and Honduras were hurriedly evacuating coastal mainland areas and picturesque coral keys likely to be in the path of the hurricane's rampage.

N. Ireland government at the breaking point

BELFAST Pro-British unionists spelled out their threat yesterday to start pulling out of Northern Ireland's fragile home-rule government if the Irish Republican Army does not begin to disarm. Ulster Unionist Party chief David Trimble, head of the largest Protestant party, said his ministers would quit if a bid to remove the IRA's political ally, Sinn Fein, from the government fails.

Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness will travel to London today for talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the prime minister's office said yesterday.

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