Work continues in raising of sub
MOSCOW -- The barge used in the operation to cut off the bow of the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine left the Barents Sea site Saturday, as underwater robots cleaned out holes carved in the rest of the submarine -- part of the preparations for pulling it to the surface.
Russia had initially planned to raise the massive vessel on Saturday, but in recent weeks officials have admitted that numerous setbacks have put the ambitious international operation behind schedule. They now say it will be lifted around Sept. 25.
The severing of the Kursk's bow, completed by a Dutch consortium Thursday, was a key step before further salvage work could continue.
Russian officials said the first compartment of the submarine, mangled in the explosions that sunk the Kursk, had to be removed to reduce the risk of unexploded torpedoes detonating. The submarine sank on Aug. 12, 2000, killing all 118 men aboard.
Opposition leader'sdeath confirmed
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan opposition leader Ahmed Shah Massood died Saturday of injuries suffered in a suicide bombing last weekend, his spokesman said -- a major blow to the fractious forces battling the country's Taliban rulers.
Massood, 48, died at 10 a.m. in Khodja Bahauddin in the northern Takhar province, the spokesman, Abdullah, who like many Afghans uses only one name, said in a telephone interview. He was the first person close to Massood in Afghanistan to confirm his death.
Since the Sept. 9 suicide attack by two men posing as television journalists, there have been conflicting reports about Massood's condition, with some saying he was killed in the attack or died later.
A spokesman for the Afghan Embassy in Moscow, Ghulam Sakhi Ghairat, also said Saturday that Massood was dead. The flag at the embassy, one of a few still operated by the opposition's deposed government -- was flying at half-staff.
Abdullah accused Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in Tuesday's terrorist onslaught in the United States, of orchestrating the attack on Massood.
Computer chip workeradmits copying secrets
SAN FRANCISCO -- A former Intel Corp. employee pleaded guilty to copying vital trade secret information about a new computer chip that the company developed.
Say Lye Ow entered his plea Friday under the federal Economic Espionage Act for his role in illegally copying trade secret information.
Ow, 31, of Mountain View, copied computer files in 1998 about the design and testing of Intel's Merced microprocessor, now known as the Itanium processor, according to prosecutors.
Merced was developed jointly by Intel and Hewlett-Packard Co. and was released to the market earlier this year.
Ow faces 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Macedonia asks NATOto leave some troops
SKOPJE, Macedonia -- Macedonia's government has asked NATO to keep some troops in the troubled Balkan country even after the expiration of its mandate to collect ethnic Albanian rebel weapons, government officials said Saturday.
Macedonia has requested that NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson keep 350 troops in the country to protect monitors who will assess the situation after the 4,700 troops of Operation Essential Harvest end their mission on Sept. 26, the government sources said on condition of anonymity.
Israeli missiles hitsecurity buildings
JERUSALEM -- In a spate of violence in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces fired missiles on Palestinian security buildings, and combined with a pair of shooting incidents, three Palestinians were killed and more than 30 injured Saturday.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said the missile strikes were part of an Israeli effort to scuttle truce talks tentatively planned for Sunday between him and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
"This escalation is aimed at sabotaging the meeting with Peres," Arafat said in Gaza City, not far from the scene of one attack.
Israel's military cited two reasons for the raids: a Palestinian attack Friday that wounded two Israeli border policemen and Israel's belief that the security buildings were being used to train and arm militants.
Pesticide blamedin deaths of elephants
GAUHATI, India -- A banned pesticide used by villagers in remote northeastern India was blamed Saturday for the death last month of 15 wild elephants.
Investigator Kushal Konwar Sharma said forensic tests revealed the presence of the pesticide Dimecron in the elephants' carcasses, which were discovered in and around Nameri National Park in Assam state.
Wildlife authorities have ordered a probe to find out how the villagers procured the pesticide, which is banned in India but used by some farmers to control disease-spreading insects.
It was unclear whether villagers angered by the trampling of paddy fields and the destruction of homes intentionally poisoned the animals, Sharma said. The elephants may have grazed in fields where farmers spread Dimecron, he said.