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Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

World Briefs

July 29, 2001

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Peru: Former spy chief tells of orders for murder

Peru's former spy chief told the ex-wife of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori that the autocratic leader ordered that she be killed, her spokesman said Saturday.

Alberto Bautista, lawyer and adviser to Congresswoman Susana Higuchi, said they visited Vladimiro Montesinos Friday at the naval prison where he is being detained on dozens of charges ranging from narcotics trafficking to directing a paramilitary death squad.

Bautista said Montesinos told Higuchi that Fujimori "ordered her eliminated, but to make it look like an accident."

But he added that Montesinos claimed that he would not permit an order to murder.

"He admits that he committed crimes and that he has to be tried and judged, but that he never killed and never trafficked in narcotics," Bautista said. "He said everything he did was on the direct orders of Alberto Fujimori."

Macedonia: Peace talks resume

The Macedonian government and top ethnic Albanian leaders resumed talks Saturday on a peaceful end to a conflict that has driven thousands of people from their homes and threatened to engulf the country in civil war.

It was the first face-to-face meeting of key leaders since high-level talks collapsed more than a week ago.

Under a new compromise, Albanian would become the official language in areas where minority ethnic Albanians account for more than 20 percent of the population. The phrasing apparently was reworked in an attempt to make it more acceptable for majority Macedonians.

Northern Ireland: Rioting returns to streets of Belfast

A suspected Protestant gunman opened fire during a night of renewed rioting in north Belfast, and one man was injured by a stray bullet, witnesses said Saturday.

The violence came hours after British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart, Bertie Ahern, completed a compromise plan for salvaging Northern Ireland's peace accord.

Street skirmishes broke out in part of north Belfast, where Catholics and Protestants are separated by a high fence. Several people needed hospital treatment for injuries in the fighting, police said.

Puerto Rico: Vieques residents weigh in on naval base

In a referendum the Puerto Rican government hopes will speed the U.S. Navy's departure from its prized bombing range, residents of outlying Vieques island get their first chance today to vote on nearly 60 years of military exercises.

Today's vote is a symbolic one called by the government of this U.S. territory in hopes of pressuring Washington into an immediate Navy withdrawal.

A legally binding federal referendum scheduled for November would allow the 5,900 registered voters to choose between a Navy withdrawal by 2003 with exercises continuing until then or allowing the Navy to stay and resume exercises with live ammunition.

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