Archive for Sunday, September 16, 2001

World Briefs

September 16, 2001


Yugoslavia: Mass gravesite found in Serbia

Nearly 50 bodies believed to be ethnic Albanians killed during the war in Kosovo have been exhumed from a mass grave in Serbia, a local court said Saturday.

The district court in the town of Uzice, about 60 miles southwest of Belgrade, said that the mass grave close to the border with Bosnia contained 48 bodies 38 men, nine whose gender could not be determined, and one woman.

Civilian clothes were found in the grave, the court said in a statement carried by the state-run Tanjug news agency.

Pro-Western authorities have accused former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic of ordering the transfer of ethnic Albanian victims killed during the 1998-1999 war in the province to cover up war crimes.

MOSCOW: Kursk-raising efforts point to Sept. 25

The barge used in the operation to cut off the bow of the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine left the Barents Sea site Saturday, as underwater robots cleaned out holes carved in the rest of the submarine part of the preparations for lifting it to the surface.

Russia had initially planned to raise the massive vessel on Saturday, but in recent weeks officials have admitted that numerous setbacks have put the ambitious international operation behind schedule. They now say it will be lifted around Sept. 25.

Severing of the Kursk's bow, completed by a Dutch consortium Thursday, was a key step before further salvage work could continue.

Russian officials said the first compartment of the submarine, mangled in the explosions that sunk the Kursk, had to be removed to reduce the risk of unexploded torpedoes detonating. The submarine sank on Aug. 12, 2000, killing all 118 men aboard.

India: Pesticide exposure kills 15 elephants

A banned pesticide used by villagers in remote northeastern India was blamed Saturday for the death last month of 15 wild elephants.

Investigator Kushal Konwar Sharma said forensic tests revealed the presence of the pesticide Dimecron in the elephants' carcasses, which were discovered in and around Nameri National Park in Assam state.

Wildlife authorities have ordered a probe to find out how the villagers procured the pesticide, which is banned in India but used by some farmers.

Sierra Leone: U.N. peacekeepers welcomed in rebel town

Armed U.N. peacekeepers were on patrol Saturday in a rebel-held mining town in Sierra Leone, deploying without interference in the key diamond-rich region.

About 250 Zambian U.N. troops late Friday rolled into the eastern town of Tongo, formally welcomed by rebel Revolutionary United Front leaders.

"We are at home with them," a local rebel commander, identified only as Col. Banya, told U.N. mission commander Gen. Daniel Opande of Kenya. Up to 800 of the Zambian peacekeepers are to move into Tongo in coming days.

Sierra Leone's rebels fought their 10-year war largely to win control of the West African nation's diamond fields, as well as to put their leader, Foday Sankoh, into the presidency.

Sankoh was captured in May 2000, and is awaiting an expected war crimes trial for killing thousands.

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