- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

RUSSIA
Governments move to ratify arms treaty
MOSCOW A top Russian diplomat said yesterday that the Russian and U.S. governments may simultaneously submit their latest arms-control treaty to their legislatures for ratification.
Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov said he and U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow met yesterday and discussed forwarding the treaty, known as the Treaty of Moscow, to the Russian State Duma and the U.S. Senate.
The pact, agreed to by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Bush at a May summit, would require the two countries to reduce their stockpiles of deployed strategic nuclear weapons by about two-thirds over the next decade, to between 1,700 and 2,200 each.

COLOMBIA
Bomb kills seven in shopping center
BOGOTA Suspected rebels set off a bomb yesterday in a shopping center in northeastern Colombia, killing at least seven persons and wounding 20 others.
Cucuta Mayor Manuel Guillermo Mora told RCN Radio that the number of victims had risen to seven from an initial report of one fatality.
Police Gen. Luis Alfredo Rodriguez blamed rebels of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, for the attack in Cucuta,.

KUWAIT
Policeman convicted in attack on Americans
KUWAIT CITY In the first trial after a series of attacks on U.S. military personnel in Kuwait, a judge yesterday sentenced a policeman to 15 years in prison for seriously wounding two American soldiers.
Khaled Shimmiri, 20, who had been under psychiatric care for months before the attack, had pleaded insanity. He is not known to have any connections with Muslim fundamentalists.
Master Sgt. Larry Thomas, 51, and Sgt. Charles Ellis, 27, both reservists from Lake Charles, La., were driving along a Kuwaiti desert highway on Nov. 21 when Shimmiri, in a patrol car, flagged them down, ostensibly for speeding, and shot and seriously wounded them.

PHILIPPINES
Arroyo rules out U.S. troops fighting
DAVAO U.S. troops will not be allowed to fight Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines, the nation's president said yesterday, a day after a terrorist bombing in the region killed 21 persons, including an American missionary.
Authorities said they have detained nine persons, including five suspected Muslim militants, for questioning in Tuesday's blast at Davao airport on Mindanao island.
The bombing came amid debate over the role of U.S. troops in anti-terrorism efforts in the Philippines, where Muslim insurgents, including a group believed linked to al Qaeda, have battled the government for decades.

GEORGIA
Hundreds mourn native son Stalin
TBILISI Hundreds of people in Georgia mourned Josef Stalin yesterday on the 50th anniversary of his death, praising the rise to power of the son of a Georgian shoemaker but glossing over his record as one of history's biggest mass murderers.
About 300 people, including politicians, gathered in Stalin's hometown of Gori, around 45 miles west of Tbilisi.

BRITAIN
Coughs are suspect in 'Millionaire' win
LONDON A fortune-winning contestant on the British version of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" was helped along in answering questions by a series of coded coughs, which were picked up by studio microphones, a court was told yesterday.
After Maj. Charles Ingram was presented with a winning check for 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) on Sept. 10, 2001, suspicious production staff decided the coughs had come from an accomplice in the audience.

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