Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004


February 27, 2004



Firebomb strikes before IOC meetings

As Greek organizers sought to reassure the world the Athens Games will be safe, anti-Olympic advocates firebombed two government vehicles Thursday to coincide with a major meeting of IOC officials.

Two environment ministry trucks were set ablaze by cooking gas canisters soaked in gasoline, causing an estimated $37,000 in damages, fire officials said.

A group calling itself "Phevos and Athena" -- the names of the Olympic mascots -- said in a call to an Athens newspaper the attack was tied to the meetings of the IOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees.

The attack was in the western suburb of Ilion, about six miles from the central Athens hotel where the Olympic meetings are taking place.

Washington, D.C.

U.S. eases some restrictions on Libya

After two decades of bitter relations with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, the United States on Thursday eased travel and other restrictions as a reward for Libya's giving up efforts to build weapons of mass destruction.

The Bush administration delivered long-sought benefits by rescinding a ban on Americans traveling to Libya and authorizing U.S. firms with holdings in Libya -- notably large oil companies -- to begin preparations to return.

The announcement marked the most concrete step yet in a remarkable turnaround in relations with Gadhafi, whose tent compound was bombed by U.S. warplanes during the Reagan administration.

Five U.S. diplomats are posted to Libya, the first long-term staffing in Tripoli since the U.S. Embassy closed in 1980.


Two agents charged in Chechen leader's death

Qatar has arrested two Russian intelligence officers and accused them of murdering a former president of Chechnya on its soil, and Moscow responded Thursday by charging that the Persian Gulf nation had been "conniving with international terrorism" by sheltering the fugitive separatist leader.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov acknowledged that the arrested men were Russian counterterrorism officers but said they merely had been gathering intelligence. Moscow, he said, played no role in the death of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev.

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