News Briefs

February 23, 1996
Web posted at: 12:20 a.m. EST (0520 GMT)

Infamous terrorist charged in '74 Paris cafe bombing

PARIS (CNN) -- Carlos the Jackal, the infamous 45-year-old Venezuelan-born convict, has been charged in a 1974 grenade attack at a Paris cafe.

The global freelance terrorist is alleged to have killed more than 80 people in a chain of bombings, hijackings, and assassinations.

The cafe explosion killed two people and wounded 34 others in September 1974.

Investigators believe the Syria-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which claimed responsibility for the blast, had hired Carlos to carry out the attack.

Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, was arrested in August 1994 in Sudan and taken in chains to Paris. He has been held at a maximum-security prison in solitary confinement.

Turkey recalls its ambassador in Athens

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ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- Ankara is recalling its Athens ambassador for consultations, citing anti-Turkish actions by Greece.

Turkish officials pointed in particular to Greek efforts to damage Turkey's relations with the European Union.

The latest tensions between the two nations was triggered by their recent dispute over a small rocky piece of land in the Aegean sea.

Since then, the Greek prime minister has threatened to block Turkish access to EU funding.

India police charge 14 more in corruption scandal

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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Police charged 14 more senior politicians Thursday in a snowballing $18 million bribery scandal that has shaken up Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's cabinet.

Police said there was no evidence as yet to proceed against Rao.

The controversy has dominated Indian politics since it broke last month, and has set the agenda for general elections expected in late April.

Politicians of various parties and ideological hues have been swept up by the corruption scandal, including opposition leader L.K. Advani, who resigned from Parliament after being charged.

The charges stem from a public interest litigation filed by a journalist alleging illegal payment of foreign funds to public servants from 1988 to 1991.

IMF approves $10 billion loan to Russia


MOSCOW (CNN) -- Keen to push market reforms in Russia, the head of the International Monetary Fund Thursday agreed to loan Moscow more than $10 billion -- said to be the fund's second-largest loan ever.

The loan must still be approved by the IMF board.

IMF managing director Michel Camdessus said the plan was designed to help Russians who have been suffering in the post-Communist economic transition.

Camdessus approved the three-year loan after receiving assurances from Russian president Boris Yeltsin that Russia was committed to controlling government spending, reducing tariffs, and promoting privatization, among other reforms.

The IMF has maintained that it is not taking sides in Russia's political battles or trying to prevent the Communists from moving into the Kremlin.

Three more ex-generals arrested for 1980 crackdown

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- Three former generals were arrested Thursday for their alleged role in crushing a pro-democracy uprising in which at least 240 people were killed.

So far, 14 former generals, including two ex-presidents, have been detained on charges relating to the 1980 crackdown in the southern city of Kwangju.

Those arrested Thursday -- legislator Park Jun-byong, former Defense Minister Choi Se-chang, and former chief presidential bodyguard Chang Se-dong -- were whisked off to prisons outside Seoul after a court approved their arrest warrants.

Prosecutors said the three conspired with two former presidents, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, to stage a coup in 1979, then launched a violent crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising in Kwangju several months later.

If convicted, they face up to life in prison.

Cambodian king's half-brother sentenced in absentia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- A judge in Cambodia has sentenced Prince Norodom Sirivudh -- the half-brother of the country's king -- to 10 years in prison.

The prince was tried in absentia; he did not return from exile in France for the trial.

The court in Phnom Penh found Prince Sirivudh guilty of criminal conspiracy and illegal possession of weapons.

The judge said it was clear that the prince was involved in an alleged plot to assassinate co-prime minister Hun Sen last October.

U.S. to compensate victims of downed Iranian jet

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States and Iran have reached a $131.8 million settlement over Iran's claims against the United States for accidentally shooting down an Iranian passenger plane in 1988.

The U.S. Navy cruiser Vincennes mistakenly shot down Iran-Air 655, thinking it was an Iranian warplane. All 290 people on board were killed.

At the time, then-president Ronald Reagan offered to compensate the victims. Under the new agreement, Iran will now allow its citizens to accept such payments, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Thursday.

Burns said no money will be paid to the government of Iran.

Chirac shakes up defense traditions


PARIS (CNN) -- In a major rethinking of defense policy, French president Jacques Chirac said he is scrapping the country's land-based nuclear missiles.

He said he will close down the nation's only factory that can produce plutonium and weapons-grade uranium, since France has enough to supply its arms.

In addition, he is proposing the end of the military draft, a French tradition since the 1789 revolution.

Chirac says France should have a smaller, all-volunteer, professional army in six years.

The plan to slash the defense budget is part of a larger effort to get the country's entire spending plan in line with European Union standards.

Imelda Marcos will burn decade of memories

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos said she and "thousands" of supporters would observe the 10th anniversary of her fall from power with a "fire of love, reconciliation and unity."

In a statement Thursday, the widow of the late deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos said diaries, journals, photographs and other reminders of "emotional and physical pains" from the past 10 years would be burned.

The event will take place in a Manila park before dawn on Sunday, exactly 10 years from the day the Marcos family fled into exile in the United States after a popular revolt toppled the 20-year Marcos regime.

The dictator died in exile in 1989, but his wife was allowed to return to the country in 1991 and has since been elected to congress, representing her home province of Leyte. Only a fraction of the $5 billion that Ferdinand Marcos, his wife and their cronies are alleged to have looted from the national economy has ever been tracked down.



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