News Briefs

April 24, 1996
Web posted at: 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT)

U.S. devises weapons to reach underground targets

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon said Tuesday the United States is working on new weapons capable of destroying deeply buried targets, such as a suspected chemical weapons plant in Libya.


U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry has said publicly the United States would not allow the chemical facility near Tarhunah to begin production.

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon said Tuesday the United States takes "very seriously and ominously Libya's continuing program of chemical weapons." He said military options remain for the United States. "if the diplomatic and economic options don't succeed."

Bacon discouraged conjecture about the use of a nuclear weapon to disable the Libyan plant, but would not rule it out.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has denied that the facility is to be used for the production of chemical weapons.

U.S. rejects terrorist's apology for Klinghoffer murder


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States will not accept the apology of Palestinian guerrilla leader Mohammad Abbas for the murder of Leon Klinghoffer during the Achille Lauro hijacking.

"We believe it's irrelevant. We still hold him responsible," said a senior State Department spokesman.

Palestinian guerrilla leader Mohammad Abbas said in Gaza Monday that the seizing of the cruise ship in 1985 was a mistake, and apologized for the killing of disabled U.S. passenger Klinghoffer.

Klinghoffer, a resident of New York, was shot in his wheelchair during the hijack and thrown overboard by Abbas' men.

Film on massacre to be shown despite China's protest

Tiananmen Square

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Chinese government has formally asked that a controversial documentary be withdrawn from a film festival starting next week in Washington, saying the film would "offend the feelings" of the Chinese people.

The acclaimed documentary "Gate of Heavenly Peace" deals with the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which hundreds of unarmed demonstrators were killed by Chinese government forces.

CNN has obtained a copy of a letter sent by China's embassy in Washington to the Washington Film Festival. The letter says, "It is necessary and appropriate to withdraw this film from the festival."

The Chinese embassy told CNN the film festival authorities responded by saying the film will be shown as scheduled, despite the official protest.

According to the film's co-director, Carma Hinton, it's the first time the Chinese government has made such a request in writing. China succeeded in having the documentary withdrawn from the international Sundance Film Festival in Utah earlier this year.

Demonstrators extinguish Olympic flame

flame snuffed

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- Five demonstrators snuffed out the Olympic flame Tuesday in Berlin to protest the memorial of the 1936 Summer Games, which were played under the Nazi regime. It was relit half an hour later with part of the official Olympic flame that is kept in reserve, and police say they released the demonstrators after questioning.

The protesters belonged to an anti-military organization, and carried a banner reading "No Fire and Honor For the Nazi Games," according to a group spokesperson.

The flame is touring all 22 summer Olympic cities to mark the centennial of the modern games. Although the flame continued on to Munich last week, officials plan to keep it burning at Berlin's Olympic Stadium until Friday.

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