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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

REMOVED: President Boris Yeltsin has removed the commander of Russia's Pacific Fleet, the once-elite force whose performance has been steadily sinking. Adm. Georgy Gurinov was removed Monday for "serious organizational miscalculations in his work as fleet commander," Defense Ministry spokesman Yuri Ryabov said Tuesday. On Saturday, a huge arms depot belonging to the fleet exploded in Russia's Far East, injuring two dozen people and damaging buildings over a wide area. The newspaper Segodnya said there were suspicions the blast could have been set off to conceal widespread theft of ammunition.RETURN: Nineteen years after American Ambassador John Gunther Dean fled Phnom Penh with the American flag tucked under his arm, the United States has an ambassador in Cambodia. Charles Twining presented his credentials Tuesday to Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk at the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace in what the king called "an historic occasion." Twining was preparing to join Dean at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge entered the capital and began the "killing fields" era.

Across the nation

EXECUTED: Urging his executioners to "get on with it," a man who killed three teenagers during a weeklong rampage in 1990 was put to death by injection early Tuesday in Maryland's first execution in 33 years. John Frederick Thanos, 45, went to his death at the Maryland Penitentiary after refusing to file any appeals. "Adios," he mumbled when asked if he had any final words. As the lethal drugs were administered, he said, "Here it comes now."

NO REGRETS: Physicist Alfred O.C. Nier said he never regretted his role in developing the atomic bomb. "There was war in Japan and American boys were dying," said Nier, who died Monday in Minneapolis at the age of 82. "We didn't know the casualties involved in taking Japan, but we knew they would be terrifically high, and this was a quick way of ending the war. How could you ever justify to the families of the soldiers who were over there not using a weapon that could end the war?" Nier said three years ago. Nier died two weeks after he lost control of his car and hit a tree.