Nuclear material in Russia at risk to terrorism, report...

FOREIGN DIGEST

February 26, 2002

Nuclear material in Russia at risk to terrorism, report says

WASHINGTON - A U.S. intelligence report says Russia's nuclear material and power plants are vulnerable to theft and terrorism despite U.S.-aided efforts to increase security. The report to Congress was prepared by the National Intelligence Council, an analytical group that reports to CIA Director George J. Tenet.

Russia has increased security at its nuclear facilities since Sept. 11, the report says. "Even with increased security measures, however, such plants almost certainly will remain vulnerable to a well-planned and executed terrorist attack," the report says.

The primary threat is from an insider trying to use or steal a weapon, especially if political authority in Russia breaks down, the report says. One goal of al-Qaida has been to obtain nuclear weapons by buying, stealing or making them, U.S. officials say. It is not believed to have succeeded.

Commander defends actions of troops in Afghan raid

WASHINGTON - The U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan defended the actions of American soldiers in a raid last month that killed 16 Afghans later determined to be friendly forces.

Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. Central Command, said yesterday that there had been no intelligence failure in the raid, even though those killed and captured turned out not to be the hostile forces that the soldiers had been told were there.

"The one mistake that I know was made was when people shot at American forces doing their job on the ground in Afghanistan," he said in Tampa, Fla.

Iraq's foreign minister, Annan to meet in March

UNITED NATIONS - Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has agreed to meet for talks with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on March 7, the United Nations said yesterday.

Annan expects discussion points to include the return of arms inspectors to Iraq, an Annan spokesman said.

Attacks on Kosovo villages detailed in Milosevic trial

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Serb forces pillaged Kosovo villages in 1999, leaving the bodies of children in the smoldering ruins, a retired farmer testified at the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic yesterday.

A second witness, a Kosovo Albanian physician, said yesterday that he saw Serb police gun down two of his cousins in the province's southwestern town of Suva Reka.

The former Yugoslav president's trial before a United Nations tribunal is in its third week.

Three men questioned in N. Ireland car bombing

DUBLIN, Ireland - A man arrested yesterday and two arrested Sunday are being held for questioning about the deadliest attack in more than three decades of violence in Northern Ireland, a 1998 car bombing that killed 29 people and wounded more than 300, police said yesterday.

The Offenses Against the State Act lets police question suspects for 72 hours without filing charges.

Nepal troops kill 76 rebels at site of deadly attack

KATMANDU, Nepal -- Soldiers killed 76 rebels in a weekend strike in Nepal's mountainous midwest, where the communist guerrillas staged their deadliest attack ever a week ago, the military said yesterday.

The deaths brought the toll on both sides during nine days of fighting to 342, the military said.

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