Secret Serb report says officials helped fugitive
By wire services
Published March 28, 2006
BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro - After years of denial, Serbian authorities have acknowledged in a secret report that a band of about 50 intelligence and army officials conspired to conceal the movements of war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic and provide him refuge.
The report, delivered to the government in January, was prepared by Serbia's military intelligence agency and led to firings and other moves within the country's domestic and military spy agencies, officials say. As a result, they say, the noose around Mladic has been tightened, although there is no indication he is prepared to give up.
"There is a written document in military intelligence," Defense Minister Zoran Stankovic said. "The findings might lead to the prosecution of certain people who were in contact with war crimes suspects.
"Those officials were removed from their posts just several months ago. That means that we have just now managed to create circumstances for more efficient and more engaged work" in making an arrest, Stankovic said.
Mladic, a general, was commander of Bosnian Serb forces during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, one of four conflicts during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Chief among the allegations against him is that he organized and oversaw the 1995 slaughter of as many as 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim men and boys captured in the town of Srebrenica.
Brazil's finance minister resigns amid scandal
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, the architect of Brazil's economic recovery and market-friendly fiscal policy, resigned Monday after becoming caught up in a political scandal.
Planning and Budget Minister Guido Mantega was tapped to replace Palocci. Mantega now heads Brazil's National Development Bank.
Palocci faces accusations he frequented a house where lobbyists held parties with prostitutes and money arrived by the suitcase, possibly for political payoffs.
He denies the accusations.
Nigerian militants release final two U.S. hostages
WARRI, Nigeria - Militants demanding control of revenues from Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta released their last remaining foreign hostages - two Americans and a Briton - Monday, but the group threatened to continue attacks on oil installations.
Abel Oshevire, spokesman for the southern Delta state government, said Americans Cody Oswalt and Russell Spell and Briton John Hudspith were released just before dawn after more than five weeks in captivity.
In a general news release, the group said it had better uses for what it claimed were 800 fighters needed to take care of the hostages - namely more attacks on oil facilities.
UKRAINE: With a little more than half the ballots counted Monday, the party of pro-Moscow candidate Viktor Yanukovych - whose 2004 ballot-stuffing bid to win the presidency triggered the Orange Revolution protests - won the most votes in Sunday's parliamentary elections. Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine's fiery heroine of the 2004 mass protests, came in second but called on her estranged former ally, President Viktor Yushchenko, to rejoin her in a coalition to keep Yanukovych out of power.
NORTH KOREA: North Korea warned Washington of "grave consequences" Monday over a military exercise in South Korea, repeating a suggestion it has the ability to launch a pre-emptive attack on the United States. The harsh comments were the latest in its series of anti-American missives to condemn an annual drill between the militaries of South Korea and the United States. The North brands the drill, which began Saturday, as a rehearsal for an invasion.
IRAN: Foreign ministers from the five U.N. Security Council permanent members and Germany will meet in Berlin on Thursday to discuss Iran's nuclear program, Britain's foreign secretary said Monday.
[Last modified March 28, 2006, 03:01:29]
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