- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2003

VATICAN CITY

Austrian cardinal says pope is dying

One of Europe’s top cardinals said yesterday that Pope John Paul II was nearing “the last days and months of his life,” the first ranking prelate to say that the 83-year-old pontiff is dying.

With the pope visibly weaker in recent weeks, concern about his health has been growing.

“The entire world is experiencing a pope who is sick, who is disabled and who is dying — I don’t know how near death he is — who is approaching the last days and months of his life,” Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn told Austrian state broadcaster ORF.

IRAN

Leader to cooperate with nuclear agency

TEHRAN — Iranian President Mohammed Khatami said yesterday that his country would continue to cooperate with the U.N. atomic watchdog as pressure mounted on the Islamic republic to come clean about its nuclear ambitions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned Iran that it has until Oct. 31 to dispel suspicions that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons capability or it could be reported to the U.N. Security Council for potential sanctions.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei urged Iran this week to give full cooperation to his team, which began talks in Tehran yesterday.

AZERBAIJAN

Leader withdraws in favor of son

BAKU — Veteran Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev, undergoing treatment in a U.S. hospital since early August, yesterday pulled out of the presidential election this month in favor of his son.

Mr. Aliyev, 80, has dominated politics in the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic since the late 1960s. A former KGB and Communist Party boss, he had been favored to win a new term on Oct. 15.

INDONESIA

Suspect convicted in Bali bombings

BALI — The last of four main suspects in the deadly nightclub bombings on Indonesia’s Bali island was convicted yesterday and sentenced to death by firing squad.

Death sentences in Indonesia are rare, but are allowed under an antiterrorism law adopted after the bombings in Bali last year, which killed 202 persons.

Ali Ghufron, an Afghan-trained militant, had been charged with participating in planning the attacks. Two other key Bali defendants have received death sentences, and a third was given life in prison.

PERU

Jailed American weds via phone

LIMA — Lori Berenson, an American serving a 20-year sentence for aiding leftist rebels, married a former inmate yesterday in a prison ceremony that the groom was barred from attending because he is on parole.

Anibal Apari confirmed his marriage to the American, Miss Berenson, 33, after receiving a phone call from his bride. His father stood in for him during the nuptials in the Andean town of Cajamarca, 350 miles north of Lima.

RUSSIA

Putin stresses military might

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Russia can modernize its aging strategic arsenal and maintain its military might for years, relying on stockpiles of Soviet-built missiles that he boasted are capable of overcoming any defense system.

Separately, the Defense Ministry warned that Russia will have to radically change its military reform plans — and its nuclear strategy — if NATO fails to shed an “anti-Russian orientation.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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