- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 30, 2006

ISRAEL

Precision bomb hit U.N. men, report says

NEW YORK — Israel used a precision-guided bomb to launch a direct hit on four U.N. peacekeepers killed in southern Lebanon last July, the United Nations said yesterday.

But a report by a special U.N.-appointed board of inquiry could not affix blame, because Israel did not allow the access to operational or tactical level commanders involved in the July 25 disaster at Khiam. Four military observers — officers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland — were killed.

Israel has accepted full responsibility for the incident and apologized to the United Nations for the army’s “tragic operational mistake.”

ZAMBIA

Ruling party retains parliamentary majority

LUSAKA — President Levy Mwanawasa’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has retained a slim majority in parliament in Zambia’s general elections, the country’s only independent daily reported today.

In a story on its Web site headlined “Levy Headed for Victory,” the Post said the MMD had won 81 of the 150 parliamentary seats up for grabs in Thursday’s tripartite elections for the national assembly, president and municipalities.

The Post did not, however, give figures on how it expected Mr. Mwanawasa to fare in the presidential contest in which he faces a strong challenge from the charismatic Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata.

BRAZIL

Plane with 140 aboard missing in Amazon

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian jetliner with 140 persons aboard was reported missing yesterday in the Amazon jungle after colliding with a smaller executive jet, aviation authorities said.

Wladamir Caze, spokesman for the Brazilian aviation authority, said Gol airlines Flight 1907 left the jungle city of Manaus and disappeared after a collision.

He did not elaborate but press reports stated the plane reportedly struck a Brazilian-made Legacy aircraft near the Serra do Cachimbo, a Para state city about 600 miles southeast of Manaus. The Legacy managed to land.

RUSSIA

5 more items missing from Hermitage

ST. PETERSBURG — Russia’s Hermitage Museum says five more of its artworks appear to be missing, besides the 221 works worth $5 million that it announced two months ago were stolen.

Among the five works was a crystal flagon adorned with a crown holding 300 rubies and 24 pearls, the Hermitage said on its Web site.

The thefts announced in late July underscored the funding crisis that has plagued cultural institutions since the 1991 Soviet collapse. Authorities have recovered 24 of the stolen items and have charged three persons with the thefts.

KAZAKHSTAN

Female space tourist returns to Earth

ARKALYK — The world’s first female space tourist was greeted with fresh fruit and a bouquet of roses when she and the two crew members of the 13th International Space Station mission landed yesterday in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

The capsule carrying Iranian-born American Anousheh Ansari, Pavel Vinogradov of Russia and U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams touched down north of Arkalyk, shortly after sunrise.

TURKEY

Blast shuts down Iran gas pipeline

ISTANBUL — An explosion on a natural gas pipeline outside an Iranian border city shut down the flow of gas to Turkey, authorities said yesterday.

Officials at the Iranian Embassy in Ankara said they thought the explosion was an act of sabotage by separatist Kurdish rebels who are active on both sides of the Iranian-Turkish border.

The explosion Thursday night near the Iranian border city of Bazargan sparked a fire that wasn’t brought under control until yesterday morning, according to press reports.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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