- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Rights panel's stance 'one-sided,' Israel says

GENEVA Israel accused the United Nations' top human rights body yesterday of adopting a "one-sided" political agenda that favors the Arab cause while ignoring the need to promote dialogue.

Michael Melchior, Israel's deputy foreign minister, told the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission that the peace effort between Israel and the Palestinians "needs to be cultivated and trust built."

"It is a genuine tragedy that this commission, entrusted with the holy task of protecting human rights and freedoms, should endanger them by adopting a one-sided stance dictated by a political agenda," Mr. Melchior said.

Russian envoy jailed for Canada driving death

MOSCOW A Moscow court sentenced a former Russian diplomat to four years behind bars yesterday for killing one woman and injuring another in a drunken-driving accident in Canada that strained ties between the two nations.

Andrei Knyazev, former first secretary at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, will also have his driving license revoked for an additional three years after he serves his sentence.

On Jan. 27, 2001, Mr. Knyazev jumped the curb in an Ottawa suburb while returning from an ice-fishing party, killing lawyer Catherine MacLean and badly injuring her friend, Catherine Dore.

Agencies quoted the court as saying that the diplomat had been "in a state of alcoholic intoxication" at the time.

Antarctic ice shelf collapses into icebergs

LONDON A large Antarctic ice shelf in an area of the giant continent that is warming faster than the global average has collapsed with "staggering" rapidity, British scientists said yesterday.

The shelf designated as Larsen B, 650 feet thick and with a surface area of 1,250 square miles, has collapsed into small icebergs and fragments, the British Antarctic Survey said. Before breaking apart, the ice shelf was about the size of Rhode Island.

The ice shelf collapse was first detected on satellite images earlier this month by Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.

Multimillion-dollar heist at Heathrow airport

LONDON Thieves hijacked a security van at London's Heathrow Airport yesterday and fled with as much as $3 million in cash that had arrived on a South African Airways flight, police said.

The daylight heist was the second multimillion-dollar robbery in just over a month at Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports, despite heightened security since the September 11 hijack attacks on the United States.

Airport officials said they believed both robberies were "inside jobs" because the raiders would have needed special identification cards as well as detailed knowledge of security-control posts.

Bosnian police raid Islamic charity office

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina Police raided the offices and homes of employees of the Islamic charity Benevolentia International Foundation in Sarajevo and in the central Bosnian town of Zenica yesterday, seizing documents belonging to the group and interrogating staff members. The efforts were meant to shut down terrorist activities, according to a police statement.

The U.S. government had earlier blocked the assets of Benevolentia's offices in Newark, N.J.; Palos Hills, Ill.; and Bosnia.

Officials here said last week that funds were missing from Benevolentia and two other Islamic aid organizations. Bosnian officials promised the U.S. government last week that it would crack down on the groups.

In yesterday's U.N.-monitored operation, police carried out simultaneous raids in the offices and in six private homes.

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