Russian Naval Officer Cleared of Charges
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- A Russian Navy captain who blew the whistle on nuclear-waste dumping by the Pacific Fleet was cleared yesterday of treason and espionage charges.
The Pacific Fleet military court found Capt. Grigory Pasko not guilty of the charges, saying the information he passed to Japanese television was not secret. He was, however, found guilty of abuse of service for personal gain and violating the interests of society and the state. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but immediately set free under an amnesty bill signed into law by President Boris Yeltsin.
Prosecutors accused Pasko, who was arrested in November 1997, of passing on state secrets to Japanese television and divulging information about the combat readiness of Russia's Pacific Fleet.
NATO, Russia Postpone Talks
BRUSSELS -- In a blow to efforts to heal relations strained by the Kosovo conflict, NATO and Russia postponed key talks as they wrangled over implementing peace in the province.
NATO ambassadors and Russian officials had been scheduled to gather for their first session of a liaison committee since Moscow broke off relations with the Western alliance in March in protest of its air campaign against Yugoslavia. NATO confirmed that the session of the Permanent Joint Council had been postponed, but did not give an explanation, or a new date for the talks.
The top NATO representatives to Russia were expelled after airstrikes began March 24. Russia was vehemently opposed to the bombardment and, even after helping negotiate the peace settlement, has argued about its role in the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.
India Fires Rockets at Opposition in Kashmir
MUSHKOH VALLEY, India -- Indian troops lobbed rockets at Pakistan-based fighters in Kashmir's snow-covered mountains, breaking three days of quiet and keeping its promise to attack intruders remaining on its side of a cease-fire line.
India agreed July 11 to halt airstrikes and artillery fire so the Islamic fighters could retreat from the mountains they occupied earlier this year. The deadline for the withdrawal was Saturday.
According to India, Islamic fighters were still holding positions in the battle zones of Dras, Batalik and the Mushkoh Valley -- all just inside Indian territory.
Suharto Hospitalized After a Mild Stroke
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Former president Suharto, who ruled Indonesia with an iron fist for 32 years, was hospitalized after suffering a mild stroke, doctors said.
Suharto's lawyer and a hospital spokesman insisted publicly that the 78-year-old retired general was simply undergoing routine medical tests. However, physicians at the Pertamina Hospital said Suharto suffered a small stroke.
There were no plans for surgery and he might be released within a day or two after tests and observation, said the doctors, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Closes Embassy in Mozambique
MAPUTO, Mozambique -- A threat has forced the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government offices in Mozambique to close, officials said.
Harriet McGuire, public affairs officer in the embassy, refused to give details about the threat, which forced the embassy to close its doors Monday. The embassy remained shut and it was not clear when it would reopen, she said.
Fearful Nigerians Flee Site of Violence
SHAGAMU, Nigeria -- Hundreds more people fled the southwestern Nigerian town of Shagamu after two new slayings that followed deadly weekend clashes between the country's two largest tribes. More than 60 people were killed over the weekend.
President Olusegun Obasanjo's government called for calm and appealed to traditional rulers and the media not to fan the embers of ethnic discord in the West African country of 108 million.
Hundreds of Hausas from northern Nigeria said they were fleeing Shagamu for Lagos, 35 miles to the south, to escape further fighting with Yoruba neighbors, who say a Hausa woman violated the taboo of a local cult. Convoys of heavily armed policemen patrolled the deserted streets while shops and markets remained closed.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Iran's Military Issues Warning to President
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Top military leaders have warned Iran's president that they are running out of patience with his reformist agenda and blamed him for student protests in the nation's worst unrest in 20 years.
However, even as the military's strong words to President Mohammed Khatemi were made public, student leaders issued their own warning, saying more violence could follow unless hard-liners allow democratic reform.
The warning from commanders in the Revolutionary Guard -- a force dedicated to the ruling Islamic clergy -- came in a July 12 letter sent to Khatemi at the height of six days of student protests in Tehran, the capital.
Victims of Algerian Rebels Found in Wells
ALGIERS -- A former Islamic militant has led security forces to three wells containing the bodies of alleged victims of Algeria's most radical rebel group, newspapers reported.
Rabah Adaoui ushered security forces and journalists on Monday to the wells at Ouled Allel and at Benindjia, 12 miles outside Algiers, the capital, the privately-owned dailies El Watan and Liberte reported.
Gunmen Get 35 Years for Chiapas Massacre
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico -- Twenty government supporters convicted in a massacre of dozens of rebel sympathizers have been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The sentences handed down Monday followed the first murder convictions in a case that touched off an international outcry. Fifteen children were among the 45 people gunned down on Dec. 22, 1997, in Acteal, a village in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas that was sympathetic to the Zapatista rebels.
The perpetrators were Indians from neighboring villages who supported the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and allegedly received some of their weapons from the Mexican army and police.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Sometimes I like this, and sometimes I'm so sad I think, `Oh, God, where am I?' "
Vjosa Maliqi, an ethnic Albanian from
Kosovo now living in France with a man she fell
in love with at a refugee camp -- Page A1.