- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003


Hoon says Blair OK’d plan to expose scientist

LONDON — A fateful decision to thrust Britain’s top Iraq weapons expert into the limelight days before he killed himself was taken with Prime Minister Tony Blair’s approval, according to Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon.

Mr. Hoon — whose job is on the line for his role in the worst crisis of Mr. Blair’s six-year prime ministership — said yesterday that to avoid charges of a cover-up, he overruled advice to shield the scientist, David Kelly, from the spotlight.

Mr. Blair is due to testify today in an inquiry into Mr. Kelly’s suicide.


Blasts rock Kashmir as Vajpayee visits

SRINAGAR — Suspected militants set off grenades in Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, yesterday and exploded a crude bomb in northern Baramullah town as Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee began a two-day visit to the region.

Four soldiers were wounded in the three attacks.

Mr. Vajpayee, his deputy, Lal Krishna Advani, and chief ministers of several states are holding a meeting on federal-state government relations in Srinagar to underline what New Delhi says is a gradual return to normalcy.


Troops recapture mountain pass

KABUL — American and Afghan forces recaptured a mountain pass in southeastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least a dozen insurgents in tough fighting.

A local official said the troops reoccupied the Moray Pass, taking it from insurgents who fought with mortars and heavy machine guns.

Soldiers have been hunting Taliban guerrillas in Zabul province for the past three days, and around 40 Taliban and three Afghan soldiers were killed in the campaign.


Admiral pleads guilty to shelling Dubrovnik

THE HAGUE — A retired Yugoslav vice admiral pleaded guilty at The Hague tribunal yesterday to killing civilians by shelling the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in 1991 during Croatia’s war of independence against Serbia.

Miodrag Jokic, who in 2001 pleaded not guilty to nine counts of violating the laws and customs of war, changed his plea to guilty on six counts after the indictment against him was amended by prosecutors at the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.


Ship’s crew held in rare-fish poaching

JOHANNESBURG — Australian and South African officials boarded a Uruguayan ship suspected of poaching the rare Patagonian toothfish and arrested the crew of about 40 yesterday, ending a 20-day chase through Antarctic seas.

The Uruguayan-flagged Viarsa would now start the seven-day trip to Cape Town, flanked by the South African tug the John Ross, and the Australian ship Southern Supporter, an Environment Ministry spokeswoman said.

The Viarsa is suspected of illegally fishing for the valuable catch, also known as Chilean sea bass, and has been pursued by an Australian customs ship through treacherous Antarctic waters since Aug. 7.


Da Vinci painting stolen in Scotland

LONDON — Thieves stole a painting credited to Leonardo Da Vinci from a castle in Scotland yesterday after posing as tourists and overpowering a security guard.

The painting, “Madonna of the Yarnwinder,” stolen from Drumlanrig castle near the southern Scottish town of Dumfries, has a checkered and disputed history. Da Vinci is known to have worked on it between 1500 and 1510 for the secretary of state to French King Louis XII. But there are two versions of the painting and no one is quite sure how much work Da Vinci did on either of them. The other version is in the United States.

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