N. Korea Deploying New Missiles

With Longer Range, South Says

SEOUL -- North Korea is producing and deploying new intermediate ballistic missiles with a range of 1,800 to 2,500 miles, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry, putting within reach dozens of U.S. military installations in Japan and other parts of the Pacific region.

The new type of missile has been widely reported in the South Korean and Japanese media for months, but a briefing Wednesday by South Korean Defense Minister Cho Young Kil to a parliamentary security commission was the first official acknowledgment of the weapon's existence.

Analysts describe the missiles as having a range between North Korea's existing Taepodong-1, which was test-fired over Japan in 1998, and the long-range Taepodong-2, which is believed to be in the final stages of development and which could reach the west coast of the United States.

North Korea's missile technology is considered a key export for the cash-strapped nation. Its continued development of the technology has increasingly disturbed its neighbors, particularly Japan.

-- Anthony Faiola


* TBILISI, Georgia -- Separatist forces disarmed and detained dozens of Georgian peacekeepers, and three Georgian servicemen were wounded by gunfire as tensions escalated sharply in the breakaway South Ossetia region.

Georgian Interior Minister Irakly Okruashvili said he would work to maintain peace but would push to replace the South Ossetian president, Eduard Kokoity. In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher condemned the taking of hostages and said their treatment -- being displayed on their knees in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali -- was deplorable.

Irina Gagloyeva, a spokeswoman for the South Ossetian government, and Georgy Khaindrava, Georgia's state minister for conflict settlement, later said that the two sides had agreed that the 38 detained servicemen would be released Friday.

* BRUSSELS -- Europe's top human rights court rejected an appeal to grant full human rights to a fetus, saying it was a matter for national governments. The European Court of Human Rights, meeting in Strasbourg, France, said it could not rule on the case of a French woman forced to have an abortion after a doctor's mistake.

* STOCKHOLM -- A Swedish appeals court threw out a life prison sentence for the convicted killer of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, ruling that Mijailo Mijailovic should receive treatment for his "significant psychiatric problems." In a unanimous ruling by the Svea Court of Appeal, a panel of five judges said it was clear from the testimony of mental health experts that Mijailovic suffered from "borderline personality disorders."


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- A land mine blast killed a woman who was working with the United Nations to register voters for Afghanistan's elections. Four others were injured, a U.N. spokesman said. A spokesman for Nangahar province, where the incident occurred, blamed the blast on "those opposed to national unity," meaning Taliban militants and their allies. But other officials said it was unclear if the mine was freshly laid or a leftover from Afghanistan's recent wars.

-- From News Services