October 18, 1995
BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- An Emmy award-winning American television journalist has been given a life sentence in prison for attempting to smuggle heroin out of Thailand.
The reporter, Steven Roye, 49, formerly of WWOR in New Jersey, was arrested by Thai police last October with six and a half pounds of pure heroin while attempting to board a flight to Amsterdam. Roye claimed he was innocent, saying he was conducting an investigative report and had been set up. He said he was ordered to carry a suitcase of heroin or members of his family would be killed. He later changed his plea to guilty in hopes of a lighter sentence.
In Thailand, the penalty for drug trafficking is death. Roye will not be eligible for parole, meaning his only chance for freedom would be a pardon by Thailand's king. U.S. officials would have to solicit such a move, but according to one senior embassy official, they will not. The official told CNN the U.S. government policy is clear: it will not support any pardon request for those convicted of trafficking in narcotics.
Currently, there are 56 Americans and more than 30 British citizens serving long sentences in Thai prisons for drug dealing. A couple of years ago, British Prime Minister John Major interceded with the king of Thailand to free two British women convicted on drug charges. The request angered many police officials dealing with narcotics cases.
TOKYO (Reuter) -- Earthquakes recorded at 6.5 and 5.0 on the Richter scale coursed through the islands of southern Japan on Wednesday, according to the Meteorological Agency.
The quakes struck some 1,300 km (800 miles) south of Tokyo on the Amami islands. The first, more potent shock hit at 1:37 a.m. local time (1037 GMT). It was followed by another about 20 minutes later.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
PARIS (Reuter) -- The Algerian Islamic group that has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in France has sent an ultimatum to Paris, a London-based Arabic newspaper reported Wednesday.
One day after another tragic bombing that injured 29 people, the Asharq al-Awsat paper published what it said were demands from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The four-point ultimatum, directed at French President Jacques Chirac, demanded that Paris cut ties with Algeria's military rulers. That would include canceling a planned meeting with the Algerian president, suspending aid, ending diplomatic relations, and denouncing a coming Algerian presidential election.
"They implicitly are saying that if you don't do this, we will intensify our campaign. That's the gist of the statement," Asharq al-Awsat's Algerian expert told Reuters.
A French government spokesman would not confirm or deny receiving the message, but stressed that Chirac still plans to meet with Algerian President Liamine Zeroual.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuter) -- Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka poured in reinforcements Wednesday in an effort to stave off a powerful army push launched the day before.
The rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were struggling against the firepower of Operation Riviresea (Sunshine), a government effort to push the guerrillas from their stronghold in northern Jaffna. The army reported 39 soldiers had been killed and more than 150 wounded, while 61 rebels were killed and more than 250 wounded.
Over the past 12 years, the government estimates, more than 50,000 people have been killed in the rebels' battle for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east. Analysts said the assault by 10,000 government troops looked like the first phase of a final push to crush the rebels.
MOSCOW (Reuter) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin's envoy to Chechnya promised Tuesday an investigation into reports of air raids in the breakaway region.
Chechen rebels are blaming Moscow for attacks on two villages in southern Chechnya. Air raids have been banned by presidential order.
The envoy, Oleg Lobov, said both Russian and Chechen representatives would have to take part in an investigation of the alleged incidents. Despite an official cease-fire, both sides accuse each other of stepping up military activity.
TUNIS, Tunisia (Reuter) -- Libya said Tuesday it has voluntarily withdrawn its candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
With the pending departure of Oman, the 15-member council would be without an Arab member. Diplomats have suggested Egypt will take Libya's place on the ballot.
Calling the security council a tool of the United States, the Libyan foreign ministry said the move is aimed at avoiding a split in the African community.
Several Arab states persuaded Libya to give up its bid. The United States, Britain and France strongly opposed Libya's candidacy, which had been endorsed by the African group at the United Nations.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuter) -- Winnie Mandela, the estranged wife of South African President Nelson Mandela, will contest divorce proceedings filed by her husband, her lawyers said Tuesday.
The couple separated in 1992 after Mrs. Mandela was implicated in a series of scandals. Mrs. Mandela is fighting the divorce on the grounds that their marriage still can be saved, and, she says, because her husband has failed to follow African cultural traditions in seeking reconciliation.
The couple will now have to appear in court. Mrs. Mandela is asking for half of her husband's estate if a divorce is granted.
JERUSALEM, Israel (AFP) -- In a bid to further the Mideast peace process, the United States has negotiated a free trade accord with the Palestinian Authority.
U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said Tuesday the trade accord will create jobs and industrial zones in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinians also pledged to try to lift the Arab boycott against Israeli products.
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