Russia Expels U.S. Military Attache
MOSCOW -- A U.S. military attache in Russia has been expelled from the country, an American official said. Lt. Col. Peter Hoffman, an assistant Army attache at the U.S. Embassy, left Russia on Thursday after his diplomatic accreditation was withdrawn, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
No reason was given for his expulsion, but Hoffman's departure comes at a time when relations between Russia and the West have become strained over NATO's military campaign in Kosovo and Russia's role in keeping the peace there.
The Foreign Ministry said it was aware of Hoffman's expulsion, but declined to comment. The Federal Security Service, the main successor to the Soviet KGB, also refused to comment on Hoffman's being declared persona non grata, a diplomatic term sometimes used when a person is suspected of espionage.
Russia's relations with NATO, and particularly with the United States, have soured in recent months. Moscow strongly opposed NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, and it still insists on a peacekeeping role in Kosovo on even footing with the alliance.
Bin Laden Reportedly Has New Afghan Base
LONDON -- Osama bin Laden, the Saudi dissident who disappeared in February after being accused in the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, has moved into a new base in Afghanistan, the Observer newspaper reported.
Bin Laden reportedly left his first base in Afghanistan after a falling-out with his hosts, the Taliban religious militia that rules most of the country. Some reports had him fleeing elsewhere -- Somalia, Chechnya, even Iraq. The Taliban have insisted they do not know where he is.
The United States, which put bin Laden on its 10 Most Wanted List and offered a $5 million reward for his capture, maintained that the Saudi exile had never left Afghanistan.
The Observer report said bin Laden moved two months ago into an old collective farm in the village of Farmihadda, a few miles south of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. It said a Western intelligence source and an Afghan military commander had confirmed a report that bin Laden was seen Tuesday in a convoy of trucks on the Farmihadda road. Jalalabad is 75 miles east of Kabul.
E. Timorese Militiamen Shoot at Foreigners
DILI, Indonesia -- Militiamen opposed to a referendum on independence for East Timor fired at a convoy of foreign and local humanitarian workers, wounding as many as three people, a U.N. official and foreign diplomats said.
It was the first time anti-independence fighters have shot at foreigners since preparations began last month for the U.N.-supervised ballot, scheduled for late August. But last week, U.N. workers were forced out of three towns after mobs threw rocks at them or made threats.
Voters will decide whether the former Portuguese colony, which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, should become independent or remain part of Indonesia as an autonomous region.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Levy Says He'll Be Israel's Foreign Minister
JERUSALEM -- David Levy said he would be back as foreign minister when Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak presents his government to parliament on Wednesday, and Palestinians welcomed the appointment.
The dovish Levy quit 18 months ago as foreign minister under rightist Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing him of leading peace moves nowhere and doing little for the working class.
Levy, 61, said Barak, the Labor Party leader, agreed that together they would direct Israel's peace policy. Barak, with Levy as part of his new One Israel alliance, defeated Netanyahu May 17 in a general election.
Opposition Makes Gains in Kuwaiti Elections
KUWAIT CITY -- The opposition made major gains in Kuwaiti parliamentary elections, and the Persian Gulf state's ruler accepted the government's resignation. Final results from Saturday's vote showed only 16 of the 50 seats in the parliament went to known government supporters, while opposition liberals won more than 12 seats, at least doubling their presence.
Independent Islamic and traditionalist tribal politicians took 18 seats. Other candidates belonging to Sunni and Shiite groups won most of the other seats.
When the new parliament convenes July 17, the opposition is expected to keep up the pressure on the new cabinet, now being formed to replace the unelected government dominated by the ruling Sabah family. The parliament is expected to take up the issue of giving women the right to vote, which must be ratified by the legislature.
FOR THE RECORD
TOLUCA, Mexico -- Residents in the state of Mexico, the country's most populous and industrialized jurisdiction, began voting for governor in an election seen as a key test for parties lining up for the July 2000 presidential race.
ALGIERS -- Algeria's president granted amnesty to thousands of people implicated in financing and providing support to terrorists. The amnesty was announced ahead of today's festivities for Algeria's independence day celebrating 37 years since the former colony won its freedom from France.
DAMASCUS, Syria -- Russia will ignore U.S. protests and proceed with discussions to sell weapons to Syria when President Hafez Assad visits Moscow this week, a senior Russian diplomat said.
ANKARA, Turkey -- Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has ordered his guerrillas not to carry out any violent attacks that could provoke Turkey into carrying out the death sentence on him, a Turkish newspaper said.
LONDON -- Nicholas Leeson, the high-flying young trader who brought down Barings Bank with more than a billion dollars in losses, has returned home from a Singapore prison, ill, divorced, unemployed and under court order to account for every penny he spends.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"The battle for Tiger Hill is over."
All India Radio reporting on India's recapture of the strategic Himalayan mountain peak -- Page A15