- The Washington Times - Friday, August 22, 2003

FRANCE

Compensation deal with Libya imminent

PARIS — France said yesterday that a deal with Libya on increased compensation for the 1989 bombing of a French airliner that killed 170 persons could be imminent.

Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said representatives of the victims’ families had left for Libya on Thursday to conduct talks to win better compensation for the bombing of the UTA airliner over the West African state of Niger.

Britain has agreed to delay a U.N. Security Council vote on lifting U.N. sanctions against Libya until next week to give France more time to win a better deal from Tripoli.

The U.N. vote comes after Tripoli accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and agreed to pay $2.7 billion compensation.

BRAZIL

16 killed as rocket explodes on pad

BRASILIA — A rocket exploded on its launch pad yesterday as it was undergoing prelaunch tests, killing at least 16 persons and injuring 20 others, officials said.

The blast in northeastern Brazil killed mostly civilian technicians and destroyed two research satellites, Defense Minster Jose Veigas Filho said.

“The launching pad collapsed and the technicians were working there,” he said. Mr. Veigas added that authorities were still trying to account for everyone at the launch site.

CANADA

19 foreigners arrested on terror suspicions

TORONTO — Canadian police arrested 19 men last week in a case that, according to court documents obtained by a newspaper, has eerie parallels to the preparations for the September 11 attacks on the United States.

On Friday Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Michele Paradis confirmed the arrests but declined to offer details.

The Toronto Star newspaper said the men were arrested after a “pattern of suspicious behavior” that included one man taking flight lessons that took him directly over an Ontario nuclear power plant.

The newspaper said two other men were considered suspicious after police found them in April 2002 outside the same nuclear plant.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. soldier killed in action

KABUL — A U.S. Special Operations soldier was killed in action in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said yesterday.

Petty Officer 1st Class David M. Tapper, 32, of Camden County, N.J., died from injuries sustained Wednesday, the Defense Department said in Washington. The U.S. military’s Central Command said his injuries were sustained during a “hostile-fire incident” around Orgun in Paktika province.

In all, 31 U.S. soldiers have been killed in action in Afghanistan and 162 wounded, the U.S. military said.

CONGO

Parliament holds first session

KINSHASA — Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took another step forward in its long and arduous peace process yesterday when the two chambers of an interim parliament held an inaugural session.

President Joseph Kabila was chairman of a ceremony to open the session. The interim parliament brings together representatives from all the political parties and entities — rebel groups and the former government led by Mr. Kabila — that participated in talks that in June culminated in a global peace settlement for DRC, brokered by South Africa.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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