- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 13, 2005

IRAN

Officials wary of inspectors

TEHRAN — Iranian officials vowed to carefully watch for any attempted espionage by international inspectors, who yesterday were visiting a military complex that the United States believes could be involved in nuclear weapons research.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, arrived in Iran on Wednesday.

Iran has said it will allow U.N. nuclear experts to take environmental samples from landscaped areas outside the military complex’s ammunition production workshops but it won’t allow them to inspect military equipment.

COLOMBIA

Black Hawk crashes, killing 20 soldiers

BOGOTA — A U.S.-donated military helicopter crashed yesterday while flying in thick fog during a nighttime counternarcotics mission in southwest Colombia, killing all 20 soldiers aboard, the army said.

The Black Hawk helicopter, used in the U.S.-funded anti-drug effort called Plan Colombia, went down just after midnight near the village of Manguipayan, 340 miles southwest of the capital, Bogota.

SOUTH AFRICA

Thatcher’ son leaves after guilty plea

CAPE TOWN — The son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pleaded guilty yesterday to unwittingly helping bankroll a botched coup plot in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, and in exchange he received a fine, a suspended prison sentence and the right to rejoin his family in the United States.

Within hours of agreeing to the $506,000 fine, Mark Thatcher checked in for a flight out of South Africa.

KOSOVO

U.N. police officer killed in explosion

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro — A Nigerian U.N. police officer was killed yesterday when his vehicle exploded as he was driving to work in Kosovo, authorities said. Police suspected a bomb caused the blast.

The blast occurred in Prizren, some 50 miles southwest of the province’s capital, Pristina, U.N. spokesman Ken Stica said.

Police believe the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device under the vehicle, said Fatmir Gjurgjeali, a police spokesman in Prizren.

SOUTH KOREA

Congressman meets senior North Korean

SEOUL — Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, met the number two leader of reclusive North Korea yesterday, unusually high-level access for a visitor from the superpower that Pyongyang accuses of wanting to invade.

Such a meeting between Mr. Weldon and parliament President Kim Yong Nam could even mark a step by the communist North toward returning to multilateral talks on its nuclear weapons ambitions.

In the North Korean hierarchy, Mr. Kim is second only to top leader Kim Jong-il.

AFGHANISTAN

Six Afghan soldiers kidnapped and killed

KANDAHAR — Gunmen kidnapped six government soldiers in a former Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan and dumped their bullet-ridden bodies in a canal, a local official said yesterday.

The six went missing on Wednesday during a patrol in the Washer district of Helmand province, 220 miles southwest of the capital, Kabul, said Mohammed Wali, a provincial government spokesman.

Troops sent to search for them found their bodies yesterday in an irrigation canal, Mr. Wali said. They had been shot with assault rifles.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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