Third Spy Unmasked in Britain
LONDON--Britain's opposition demanded an explanation from the government after the third Briton in a week was unmasked as a spy for the Soviet Bloc--this time for East Germany.
The BBC said it would broadcast a television program today accusing Robin Pearson, a lecturer at Hull University, of having been a spy for the East German Stasi secret police from 1977 until the fall of the Berlin Wall 12 years later.
The allegation came a few days after an 87-year-old British woman and a former policeman were named as former Soviet spies, based on KGB files provided by a defector.
Moscow Assails Interception of Bombers
MOSCOW--Russia's armed forces expressed "surprise and regret" that U.S. jets had intercepted two Russian bombers off Alaska, and said the American planes should not have done so in international air space.
U.S. officials said Friday the jets turned back the bombers after the Russian aircraft approached the Alaska coastline this week for the first time in six years.
Russia said the planes were on their way to Ukrainka and Anadyr in the Russian Far East. Anadyr is on the far northeastern tip of Russia, opposite Alaska. The Russian spokesman did not give the location of the bombers at the time of the incident.
U.S. officials conceded that the Russian bombers, known to NATO as the Bear-H, had stayed in international air space but said they had entered an "outer defense identification zone," about 200 miles off the Alaskan coast.
EU Civil Service Overhaul Approved
BRUSSELS--In its first official meeting, the new European Commission headed by Italy's Romano Prodi approved an overhaul of the European Union's civil service and a code of conduct for top officials aimed at preventing a repeat of the scandals that brought down the last executive team.
The new 20-member commission was sworn in Friday to replace the executive team headed by Luxembourg's Jacques Santer, which was forced to resign in March following accusations of fraud, nepotism and mismanagement. Prodi's group is scheduled to run the EU's day-to-day business until 2005.
Moscow Mayor's Wife a Candidate
MOSCOW--The wife of influential and popular Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that she would run for Russia's parliament from the impoverished province of Kalmykia.
Yelena Baturina, whose business accounts are under investigation by tax and security officials, will run as an independent candidate in Dec. 19 elections for the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, Russian news reports said.
She will not join the centrist party her husband leads, Fatherland-All Russia, which is expected to fare well in the elections. He is not running for a Duma seat, but is seeking reelection as mayor. Luzhkov is also considered a top contender in presidential elections next summer.
It is unclear whether Baturina has any connection to Kalmykia, a barren region on the Caspian Sea, but Russian law does not require legislators to live in the districts they represent.
Cold Front Aims Hurricane at Bermuda
MIAMI--Hurricane Gert's threat to Bermuda rose with the advent of a cold front along the eastern United States that was expected to push the storm on a course towards the island.
At 11 p.m. EDT, Gert, a Category 3 hurricane, was heading northwest at about 10 mph, with top sustained winds near 125 mph and some higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center. Gert was projected to reach a point about 150 miles southeast of Bermuda within 72 hours, the center said.
Trains Collide Near Pakistani Capital
TAXILA, Pakistan--A passenger train slammed into a lone engine traveling in the other direction, killing at least 18 people and injuring 70 others, witnesses and railway officials said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash or why the two trains were on the same stretch of track a few miles outside Taxila, 21 miles from the capital, Islamabad.
The first railway car of the six-car passenger train, the Chenab Express, was a mangled mass of steel and the second one was badly damaged. The death toll was expected to climb as many of the wounded were in serious condition, officials said.
Genocide Trial Opens in Rwanda
ARUSHA, Tanzania--Former Rwandan mayor Ignace Bagilishema pleaded not guilty at a U.N. tribunal to seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, the independent Hirondelle press agency reported.
The former mayor of Mabanza is accused of killing ethnic Tutsis during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which an estimated half-million people were massacred by extremist Hutus in just three months. He is also charged with "encouraging others to capture, torture and kill Tutsi men, women and children" who were seeking refuge from attacks in the area.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Palestinian Firm on Final Talks
RAMALLAH, West Bank--Palestinian negotiators will insist on reaching agreements with Israel on such thorny issues as Jerusalem's status and the return of Palestinian refugees in a final peace accord, the new chief Palestinian negotiator said.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, who was appointed last week to lead negotiations with Israel on a final peace agreement, said the Palestinians will not accept leaving any final status issues to later stages of the negotiations.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has suggested that the most hotly disputed issues be resolved through long-term interim accords that would defer a final arrangement.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"People are no longer really focusing on what happened in East Timor, but on how Indonesia has been insulted."
Dewi Fortuna Anwar, a political scientist and adviser to Indonesian President B.J. Habibie