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World Briefs

December 12, 1995
Web posted at: 10:30 p.m. EST (0330 GMT)

New plotter arrested in airline bomb conspiracy

Ramzi Yousef

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A man said to be a colleague of accused World Trade Center mastermind Ramzi Yousef was flown to New York Tuesday to face conspiracy charges in a plot to bomb U.S. commercial airliners in the Far East.

Sources told CNN the man is Wahli Kahn (a phonetic spelling), and that it was possible he was apprehended in the Philippines. The suspect was taken by motorcade to FBI headquarters in Manhattan.

One source told CNN the indictment against the new suspect is expected to be unsealed Wednesday.

Ramzi Yousef and another reputed colleague, Abdul Hakim Murad, are awaiting trial on charges of plotting to bomb U.S. airliners in the Far East.

Yousef is also charged in the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing and with bombing a Japanese airliner and killing a Japanese passenger.

15 killed in car bombing in Algeria


ALGIERS, Algeria (CNN) -- At least 15 people were killed and more than 40 others wounded Tuesday when a powerful car bomb exploded in Algeria.

The bomb was planted outside a cafe near the largest military hospital in Algiers. It was not immediately known whether military or health care personnel were among the injured.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but last week a radical organization called the "Armed Islamic Group" warned civilians to avoid military facilities.

Salinas' sister-in-law to be released from Swiss prison

Paulina Castanon

MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- Paulina Castanon, sister-in-law to former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, will be released from a Bern, Switzerland, prison Tuesday, according to her mother, Consuelo Castanon.

Antonio Castanon, Paulina's brother, was released earlier Tuesday.

Both Salinas relatives were arrested November 15 in Geneva after they tried to use false documents to withdraw more than $83 million in U.S. currency from a private bank account that allegedly belonged to Raul Salinas, brother of the former president.

Consuelo Castanon told CNN Spanish that her children were completely free and will return to Mexico "with their heads held high and a clean last name."

Salinas's Mexican lawyer, Juan Velasquez, told CNN Spanish that the releases are an important step toward clearing the Salinas name.

In Washington, the State Department denied that the U.S. government was investigating Salinas. NBC news reported Monday that U.S. agents are trying to link Salinas to a half billion dollars in banks around the world.

Iraq again rejects resolution

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz met with the president of the U.N. Security Council Tuesday to brief him on what he called a constructive period for relations between Iraq and the U.N. Special Commission.

But he said Iraq still rejected the Security Council resolution that would allow Iraq to sell oil in order to buy food and humanitarian supplies. "Up to now I haven't been informed by any responsible source in the council that there will be any change. As long as there is no change in the council there is no change on our side," Aziz said.

Rwanda to let U.N. troops remain 3 more months

Rwanda map

KIGALI, Rwanda (CNN) -- The United Nations and the Rwandan government have agreed to keep 12,000 U.N. troops and 200 military observers in Rwanda for three more months.

Rwandan officials had earlier demanded that all U.N. troops be withdrawn and replaced by a small number of non-military peacekeepers.

More than a million and a half Rwandan refugees, mostly minority Tutsis, fled their homes during last year's ethnic violence that left 500,000 dead. The ethnic slaughter ended only when Tutsi-led rebels drove the former Hutu-led government into exile.

The U.N. troops are trying to persuade them to return to their homes, but the refugees fear that they will be killed if they do so.

French strike continues in 19th day


PARIS (CNN) - Striking public service workers staged a massive show of strength across France on Tuesday and railway employees voted to continue a crippling 19-day stoppage for at least another 24 hours to demand more government concessions.

At huge marches in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and provincial towns, hundreds of thousands of protesters demanded that Prime Minister Alain Juppe scrap planned welfare reforms and the overhaul of the loss-making SNCF state railway. Police said at least 100,000 people joined the biggest march in the Mediterranean port of Marseille since the May 1968 student-worker uprising.

Again Tuesday, there were no trains nationwide and public transport was at a standstill in Paris and provincial towns. Giant traffic jams clogged all approaches to the capital. The head of the biggest rail union said workers had voted at mass meetings on Tuesday to extend the strike for at least 24 hours to demand guarantees of a halt to job cuts and the formal withdrawal of a five-year rail restructuring plan. Juppe says his plans for higher taxes and health cost controls to wipe out the social security system's debts are vital for France to qualify for the European monetary union in 1999.

Cuban leader Castro makes first trip to Japan

Castro in Japan

TOKYO (CNN) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro arrived in Japan on Tuesday for his first visit, an unofficial, 20-hour stopover. On Wednesday he is slated to meet Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and Foreign Minister Yohei Kono. Castro arrived on a Cuban government jet from Vietnam after wrapping up visits there and in China. No Japanese leader or cabinet minister has visited Cuba since the 1959 revolution that brought Castro to power, the Japanese government said.

Perhaps the biggest issue hampering modern ties between Tokyo and Havana is Cuba's outstanding debt of $2 billion to Japan. No payment has been made since 1989. A Japanese business delegation that visited Havana last month said the debt issue impedes progress on trade and investment.

Japanese officials said Castro is asking for Japanese help in lifting the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.


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