The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 16, 2002 · Page 8
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 8

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Hays, Kansas
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Monday, September 16, 2002
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Page 8
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AS MONDAY SEPTEMBER 16,2002 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS INTERNATIONAL Bus explodes in Chechen capital; at least eight dead MOSCOW (AP) — A land mine planted at a busy intersection in the Chechen capital Grozny exploded as a passenger bus'drove by today, and Russian news agencies reported that at least eight people were killed and 20 others wounded. The ITAR-Tass news agency put the death toll in the midday blast at 11, citing an unidentified official at Russia's military headquarters in Chechnya who blamed the blast on rebels in the breakaway republic. One victim was 4 years old, ITAR- Tass said. The Interfax news agency, citing Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Movsur Khamidov, reported that at least eight people were killed and 28 injured. It said the bodies of three women, a man and two children were found at the scene and two other people died in the hospital. Most of the people injured and killed were on the bus, which was traveling on Victory Prospect near the city's central market, In- terfax said. The area is a gathering point for people boarding buses for other cities in Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus region, it said. The explosive was hidden in an abandoned metal booth or kiosk at the intersection, Interfax said. Body parts and bloodied belongings were found in the rubble of nearby buildings, many of which were destroyed in the two wars that have gripped Chechnya in the past decade. Chechen rebels frequently plant land mines on the routes of Russian forces and Chechen police. The United Nations estimates that 7,000 to 10,000 people in Chechnya have been wounded or killed by land mines since the first war between Russian troops and Chechen rebels broke out in December 1994. Sri Lanka, rebel peace talks open SATTAHIP, Thailand (AP) — The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels opened landmark peace talks today, pledging to do their utmost to end a 19-year conflict that has claimed at least 64,000 lives. The two sides launched their first face-to-face talks in seven years with a ceremony at a secluded Thai naval base. The talks, which lasted about three hours, are scheduled to continue through Wednesday "Together we repudiate today a legacy of rancor and hatred, which has torn asunder the fabric of our nation for decades," said G.L. Peiris, the head of the Sri Lankan delegation. "We are seriously and sincerely committed to peace and ... we will strive our utmost to ensure the success of the negotiations," responded Anton Balasingham, the head of the Tamil Tiger delegation. The negotiations, brokered by Norway, come seven months after Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers signed a cease-fire that has produced the longest period of peace since the war started. The war "is now behind us," said Peiris. "Our nation has resolved ... that a sea change is necessary, now that the tempests have abated." In Colombo, the capital, Sri Lankans flocked to temples, mosques and churches to pray for success. "Our only prayer is that both parties will work with sincerity. This island has suffered enough," said Surangani Jayasundere, a secretary who stopped at a Buddhist temple on her way to work. Jeyaraj Kumar, 56, has worked in a bicycle shop in Colombo since being driven from his home in the northern Jaffna Peninsula by fighting in 1995. "It has been my dream for the last seven years to go back home and it is only if these talks are successful that this will be possible," the former trader said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for the island's 3.2 million Tamils, claiming discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese. The fighting has killed at least 64,500 people and displaced another 1.6 million people in the north and the east where most of the Tamils live. Although previous attempts at negotiations have failed quickly, political analysts say this time peace has a real chance because of the commitments both sides have made in the presence of the international community. "They do realize that there is no championship of a unitary state or establishing a separate state through force of arms, that there is need to compromise," said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of the Peace Support Group of Sri Lanka. He is in Thailand to observe the talks. The talks mainly will focus on hammering out the agenda for future talks as well as rehabilitation and reconstruction of war zones. Balasingham said it was crucial the rebels play a "leading and pivotal role in administration as well as the economic development of the northeast." Norwegian diplomats and Sri Lanka officials say that several rounds of talks—perhaps lasting years — are necessary before a final peace accord can be reached. The two sides plan to meet regularly in Thailand. The opening ceremony was held at a beach resort hotel in the presence of international media and Bangkok-based diplomats — apparently reflecting the government's confidence in achieving success. "The rewards of peace are great and amount to far more than the absence of war. Peace is about restoring normalcy in people's daily liv.es," said Vidar Helgesen, the deputy foreign minister of Norway, a key mediator. The last round of negotiations broke down in 1995 when the government accused the rebels of avoiding discussion of substantive political issues. The international community is also watching the peace talks keenly, as any future aid will depend on the security situation and accountability of the money spent. In a statement today, the Australian Foreign Ministry announced $4.2 million in aid for Sri Lanka, marked for mine clearance, food aid and rehabilitation. Police question U.S. soldiers over brawl with activists SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — An investigation into a weekend brawl between U.S. soldiers and South Korean activists on a Seoul subway could take tune because of sharply conflicting claims by both sides, South Korean police said today. The activists allege that one of the soldiers, Pvt. John Murphy, started the brawl by punching former opposition legislator Suh Kyong-won, who was handing out fliers about two South Korean girls who died June 13 after being struck by a U.S. military vehicle. But Murphy and two other soldiers claim they were the ones assaulted when Murphy declined to accept the Korean-language flier, which he cannot read. Since the fatal incident hi June, activists have been demanding more South Korean jurisdiction over U.S. soldiers stationed in the country. "The investigation is expected to take tune as testimonies from the American soldiers and the South Korean activists are very conflicting," said a police officer • at Seoul's Chongyangri station. The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Murphy . maintained that he was attacked ; first, briefly abducted and forced ; to apologize for the brawl. Pvts. Eric Owens and Shane Tucker; also were questioned by police Sunday night. The hometowns of the three U.S. soldiers, all from the 2nd Infantry Division, were not released. The U.S. military command in Seoul said hi a statement Sunday that one South Korean activist, believed to be Suh, punched Murphy in the face, and then others joined the attack. Murphy allegedly struck Suh in defense, it said. Korean activists claimed that Murphy swore at Suh and punched his face and upper body Suh suffered a broken nose and other injuries to the face, they said. About 37,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed hi South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. 1327 Toulon Ave. Hays, KS 67601 Planting Time Vast majority of Perennials* 40% OFF ^Exclusions Apply Family Dentistry Melinda K. Miner, DDS and Daniel I. 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To subscribe, contact The Hays Daily News Circulation Department at 628-1081 or 1-800-657-6017 or stop by the office • at 507 Main in Hays. The Advantage Card program Is Brought To You By r s Area Hay www.advantagehays.com ELLIS COUNTY COAHTION \ Convention & Visitors Bureau

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