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World datelines


SARAJEVO — A former interior minister and part-owner of a bank in which the U.S. government lost $900,000 was arrested at the offices of his import-export company, police said Saturday.

East Timor

DILI — The United Nations may need to set up a war crimes tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the death and destruction that wracked East Timor last year, the top U.N. human rights official said Saturday.


BANGALORE — A bandit who has eluded pursuit for almost two decades and is wanted for killing more than 130 police officers offered to release an abducted movie star in exchange for $12 million — and the right to rejoin society, officials said Saturday.


CARACAS — Making a controversial push for unity among OPEC members, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez departs today on a 10-day trip to meet with leaders of the petroleum-exporting countries.


BELGRADE — The leader of Serbia's largest opposition party said Saturday his group may reverse its decision to boycott presidential elections but run its own candidate rather than back one expected to be nominated by the rest of the opposition.


COTABATO — Heavily armed men stopped three vehicles on a remote road in the southern Philippines and killed 16 people inside after robbing them, officials said Saturday. Ten other people were seriously injured in the attack Friday night in North Cotabato province, army Col. Harmogenes Esperon said.


WINDHOEK — After years of wrangling, 11 southern African nations have approved a free trade agreement aimed at eliminating all tariffs in the region within 12 years, officials said.


CULIACAN — A powerful media magnate was kidnapped in Mexico's drug-plagued Sinaloa state, prompting police to lay low and his family and newspapers to keep silent in a bid to protect his life.


ASUNCION — Gunmen in military-style uniforms stole $11.1 million as guards were about to load the money onto a plane headed for New York in the South American country's biggest robbery ever, authorities said Saturday.


FLORENCIA — U.S. Special Forces trainers quietly arrived in Colombia last week and have begun preparing this country's second anti-narcotics military battalion, a key element in the $1.3-billion American anti-drug aid package for this nation, U.S. and Colombian sources confirmed.


PARIS — The French government has decided to destroy 115 acres of soybeans in southern France containing genetically modified seeds, officials announced Saturday. Unlike some other crops, genetically modified soybean is not authorized in France.


TEHRAN — A woman has been appointed a district governor for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Saturday.


WARSAW — A much-criticized law designed to expose those who collaborated with secret police during the communist era has ensnared both President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former President Lech Walesa in special court hearings to judge whether they were spies.

Northern Ireland

BELFAST — An Irish Republican Army bomber who killed nine shoppers in 1993 said in an interview published Saturday that the deaths were an accident he regrets. But Sean Kelly, who helped plant a bomb in a fish shop in the mostly Protestant Shankill Road in October 1993, told the weekly North Belfast News that he, too, was a victim of Northern Ireland's "troubles."