- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2002

New leads eyed in Cole bombing

SAN'A, Yemen The United States and Yemen have uncovered new leads into the 2000 bomb attack that killed 17 American sailors aboard the USS Cole in Yemen, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller IIIsaid yesterday.

"Working as partners, we have uncovered a great deal of important information and many new leads," a statement from the U.S. Embassy quoted Mr. Mueller as saying during a brief visit to the Arabian Peninsula nation.

Mr. Mueller said he came to Yemen to talk with its president about "the significant progress we have made together in the joint investigation into the Cole attack."

He said nothing specific about the new leads.

Two suicide bombers pulled up alongside the destroyer Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000 and detonated explosives that blew a hole in its hull, killed 17 sailors and wounded 37 others.

U.N. names new head of mission in Kosovo

NEW YORK Michael Steiner, a German Balkan expert, was named yesterday as the new head of the U.N. mission in Kosovo to replace Hans Haekkerup of Denmark, who resigned unexpectedly late last year.

Mr. Steiner resigned from his post as foreign policy adviser to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder last November after losing his temper with German airmen during a long refueling stop in Moscow and demanding he be served caviar.

Zulus defy limits on AIDS drugs

DURBAN, South Africa A key AIDS drug, which reduces the chances of HIV-positive pregnant mothers transmitting the virus to their children at birth, is to be made available in South Africa's most AIDS-stricken province, an official said yesterday.

The decision to make the drug nevirapine available at public hospitals in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, which is controlled by the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, runs counter to a national health department directive restricting the drug's use to a few pilot sites.

Nevirapine is approved by the World Health Organization, and studies show it can reduce the rate of mother-to-child HIV infections by up to 50 percent.

Russia pays off IMF, slashes foreign debt

MOSCOW Russia has slashed its debt to the International Monetary Fund, paying off $4.3 billion last year, the Interfax news agency reported yesterday.

The payment left Russia with $7.5 million still outstanding with the international organization.

Russia was the fund's biggest debtor when its debt peaked at $17 billion in early 1999, after heavy borrowing to prop up its ailing post-Soviet economy throughout the 1990s.

The fund has not given any financial help to Russia since then, citing insufficient reform efforts, while Moscow has continued making scheduled payments.

Taiwan picks prime minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan Taiwan's president picked a new prime minister yesterday to lead a reshuffled Cabinet that will help him face what's expected to be the most crucial period of his presidency.

The leadership change promoted presidential aide Yu Shyi-kun to prime minister, the island's No. 3-ranking leader. Hours later, Mr. Yu appointed new ministers for defense and foreign affairs.

Leader Chen Shui-bian's term ends in 2004, and his re-election will greatly depend on his new Cabinet's performance.

Court to hear Berenson appeal

LIMA, Peru Peru's top court today will hear the appeal of Lori Berenson, an American woman sentenced to 20 years in jail on terrorism charges and one of Peru's most high-profile prisoners.

A court official said yesterday the Supreme Court would hear Berenson's appeal at 8 a.m. local time and could confirm the sentence, reduce it, annul it and order a retrial, or free her. A ruling could come within the day. The court cannot increase her sentence.

The 32-year-old New Yorker, a former student and activist, was jailed for life after a 1996 trial as a leader of the leftist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

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