Kosovo Albanians Remember Massacre
RACAK, Yugoslavia--Laying wreaths and reading poems, thousands of Kosovo Albanians gathered yesterday on a snowy hillside for the first anniversary of the mass killing that shocked the world and set in motion NATO's campaign against Yugoslavia.
Hundreds of ethnic Albanians were killed by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's forces before the Racak massacre, and thousands of others lost their lives later. But the killings of 45 men, women and children in Racak are significant in Kosovo.
Racak "galvanized the pain we had been feeling at the time, with an understanding of the international community that the only way to stop Milosevic was to show teeth," Veton Surroi, an independent Albanian politician, said.
U.S. Soldier Held in Kosovo Girl's Death
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia--A U.S. soldier in the international peacekeeping force has been detained in southeastern Kosovo in connection with the killing of a local girl.
Peacekeepers found the girl's body Thursday evening near the town of Vitina in southeastern Kosovo, U.S. forces said. She was believed to have been of ethnic Albanian origin and about 14 years old, military sources said.
Brig. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops in the 50,000-strong international force, said the soldier was being held at Camp Bondsteel, the main U.S. base in Kosovo.
Germans Disclose More Funding Scandals
BERLIN--Revelations of campaign funding irregularities by a state branch of Germany's Christian Democrats deepened the party's finance scandal and prompted calls for nullification of its victory in last year's state elections.
A Christian Democratic leader in Hesse disclosed late Friday that party leaders had channeled millions to their organization from foreign accounts and declared the money improperly. The amount involved was the largest yet in the finance scandal that has dominated German politics for weeks.
Report: Soviets Had Nuclear Arms Abroad
BERLIN--The Soviet Union secretly stationed nuclear missiles in communist East Germany in April 1959, several years before the confrontation with the United States over missiles in Cuba, a magazine reported.
Der Spiegel, citing research by a German historian, said Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave the order to send 12 SS-3 missiles to Soviet bases in East Germany.
With a range of 750 miles, the missiles could have hit France and Britain as well as U.S. military bases, the report said. They were withdrawn a few months after their arrival, apparently after the Soviets developed long-range missiles that could hit those targets from Russian territory, Der Spiegel said.
Car Crashes Into Downing Street
LONDON--Police charged a man with dangerous driving after his car smashed into security gates across London's Downing Street, home to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Stephen Edward Bonnett, a 26-year-old engineer, was charged with dangerous driving and grievous bodily harm. An American tourist suffered a leg injury when the car sped across a road and slammed into the gates.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Assad Refuses Meeting With Barak
DAMASCUS, Syria--Syrian President Hafez Assad will not meet with Israel's prime minister to sort out details of a peace deal, Syrian media said, dismissing as "far-fetched" Ehud Barak's call for a three-way meeting with President Clinton.
Barak was quoted in an Israeli interview published Friday as saying some issues cannot be decided unless he sits down with Assad and Clinton. So far, the negotiations on a peace agreement aimed at ending 50 years of hostilities have been between Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Charaa.
Pro-Reform Nominees Disqualified in Iran
TEHRAN--More than 400 nominees for next month's legislative elections, mainly reform supporters, were disqualified by a hard-line electoral supervisory council, the Interior Ministry said.
The council's decision is the result of a tug of war between the hard-liners and the moderates in Iran's Islamic government. The Interior Ministry is controlled by moderates who support President Mohammed Khatemi's attempts to promote democracy and ease social restrictions.
Algerian Rebel Negotiator Killed
ALGIERS--Rebels opposed to their movement's amnesty talks with the government have shot and killed a senior guerrilla negotiator, halting peace talks, El Watan newspaper said.
Three members of a group led by Hassan Hattab, who was negotiating his surrender with the authorities, shot and killed his senior aide Aoudjid Bourguiba in an ambush on Thursday, it said. Only Hattab's Da'wa wal Jihad group and another hard-line faction, the Armed Islamic Group, have failed to accept an amnesty offer.
Two Earthquakes Strike Southwest China
BEIJING--Two earthquakes struck southwest China 1 1/2 hours apart, killing at least four people, injuring 400 others and causing thousands of buildings to collapse, officials said.
A 5.9 magnitude quake hit Yao'an county in Yunnan province, about 900 miles west of Hong Kong. An even stronger quake with a magnitude of 6.5 struck 90 minutes later, according to a county seismologist who gave only his surname, Su.
FOR THE RECORD:
* ANKARA, Turkey--Facing mounting public protests against their delay of Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan's execution, Turkish leaders said they would hang Ocalan without hesitation if he tried to lead his rebel movement from prison.
* JAKARTA, Indonesia--President Abdurrahman Wahid vowed to deal sternly with "provocateurs" he blamed for stirring up sectarian violence in the Moluccas and separatist tension in Aceh.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"The Pinochet decision was a wake-up call to dictators around the world. If you torture somebody today, you can get arrested for it tomorrow almost anywhere."
-- Reed Brody, of the New York-based Human Rights Watch