- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

Apartment blast kills 8 in Moscow

MOSCOW At least eight persons were killed when an explosion blew a 50-foot-wide hole in an apartment building and collapsed five stories.

Authorities said the explosion Tuesday night was likely caused by a natural gas leak, not a bomb.

Rebel attacks have picked up in recent weeks, and investigators say a missile attack by the rebels probably caused a crash of a troop-transport helicopter Monday that left 114 dead.

Abu Sayyaf rebels behead 2 Christians

PATIKUL, Philippines Muslim rebels linked to al Qaeda beheaded at least two of the six Jehovah's Witnesses they kidnapped in the southern Philippines, authorities said early today.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, commander of the army on the southern island of Jolo, said authorities found the heads of the two male hostages in an open-air market in Jolo town.

The two men were abducted Tuesday with four women as the group sold Avon cosmetics and visited homes around the town of Patikul.

Israeli Cabinet OKs smallpox vaccination

JERUSALEM Israel decided yesterday to give smallpox vaccines to more than 15,000 security and rescue officials, expanding an inoculation program to protect its people in case of an Iraqi attack with chemical or biological weapons.

The Cabinet decision is part of Israel's overall preparation for a possible U.S. attack on Iraq which, in turn, could trigger an Iraqi strike against Israel.

U.S. scores Iraq over missing pilot

NEW YORK The United States accused Iraq yesterday of refusing to cooperate on the fate of missing American pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher, shot down in the 1991 Gulf war.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte raised the issue in the U.N. Security Council, saying that Washington's attempt to get information had brought no results.

N. Korean brothers head for the South

BEIJING Two North Korean brothers who climbed over a fence into the Albanian Embassy in Beijing to ask for political asylum in South Korea left China yesterday.

Diplomats and airport officials in Manila said the pair, ages 26 and 20 identified as Soo chul lee and Soo hyuk lee, arrived in the Philippine capital at about 9:10 p.m. on their way to South Korea.

Indonesian ex-soldier arrested in bombings

JAKARTA, Indonesia Indonesian police have arrested a former soldier suspected of links to rebels in Aceh province and accused him of planning deadly bombings in the capital over the past few years, a spokesman said yesterday.

Police said it was too early to say if the ex-soldier, Ramli, was connected to radical Muslim groups in Indonesia.

A police spokesman said Ramli, who was arrested Tuesday, was accused of involvement in the bombing of several churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve in 2000.

Nationals heading home to Pakistan

A chartered plane carrying 97 Pakistani nationals from the United States is expected to arrive in Islamabad late today, some of them told United Press International by telephone.

This is the second batch of Pakistani nationals to be deported for immigration-law violations this summer and includes about 40 people from the city of Karachi and 25 from Lahore. The rest are from other parts of Pakistan, according to officials from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Landslide wipes out Nepal village; 60 dead

KATMANDU, Nepal A massive landslide triggered by monsoon rains wiped out a village in east Nepal yesterday, killing at least 60 people, an official said.

A Home Ministry official said the death toll from the disaster in the remote village of Damti in eastern Ramechhap could rise.

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