U.S. to provide $25 million for fuel
The United States yesterday announced it would spend up to $25 million to pay for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil for North Korea — part of an agreement the communist regime made with the United States and other nations pushing it to dismantle its nuclear program.
Under a February agreement, participants in the six-party negotiations with Pyongyang agreed to provide North Korea with one million tons of heavy fuel oil, or the monetary equivalent in other aid and assistance.
In return, North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor, which it did in July, and then declare and ultimately dismantle all its nuclear programs.
The order, which President Bush signed after consultations with Congress last week, comes a day after the six-party talks on disabling North Korea’s nuclear program resumed in Beijing.
Cleric who sent fighters to Iraq killed
DAMASCUS — A Syrian cleric who recruited foreign fighters traveling to Iraq to fight U.S.-led forces was killed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo yesterday, an aide said.
Sheik Mahmoud Abou al-Qaqa was fatally shot after he emerged from Friday prayers. The 42-year-old cleric had called for a holy war to counter U.S. policies against Syria. Analysts say he toned down his rhetoric lately and became less active.
Muslims urged to work for peace
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican yesterday urged Muslims to reject violence, work with Christians for peace and to teach their children to love and respect all people and not become “cultural or religious blocs opposed to one another.”
The Vatican’s top official in charge of relations with Muslims, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, issued the traditional message to Muslims to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
He urged Muslims to enter into a dialogue with Christians to “help us to escape from the endless spiral of conflict and multiple tensions which mark our societies.”
Man held in plot for Iraq air attack
MILAN — Italian police arrested an Iraqi man yesterday on suspicion of preparing an armed attack in Iraq using ultralight aircraft and charged him with belonging to a group linked to al Qaeda.
A police special operations group arrested the man who lived in Padua, northeastern Italy, as he was trying to board a flight in Venice to travel to Iraq via Romania and Syria.
Press reports identified the man as a 35-year-old kebab seller.
Remains are likely of czar’s children
MOSCOW — There is a “high degree of probability” that bones found recently near the Russian city of Yekaterinburg are those of a daughter and son of the last czar, an official said yesterday, citing preliminary forensic work.
The bones were found by archaeologists in a burned field near Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains where Czar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their five children were held prisoner by the Bolsheviks and then fatally shot in 1918. The discovery was announced in August.
From wire dispatches and staff reports