Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Briefs

Article excerpt

WORLD DOWNED BALLOON Belarus' Explanation Of Gunfire Denounced

Race organizers on Friday rejected Belarussian claims that every effort was made to contact two American balloonists before a helicopter gunship shot them down.

The Belarus air force tracked the hydrogen balloon for two hours and 13 minutes Tuesday before shooting it down, the International Aeronautical Federation said. Balloonists Alan Fraenckel, 55, and John Stuart-Jervis, 68, both of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, were killed when their balloon was sprayed with machine-gun fire over rural western Belarus and fell 8,000 feet to the forest below.

Valery Tzepkalo, Belarus' first deputy foreign minister, said Friday that race organizers "created risky situations" by not providing enough information. AP

***** PAPAL ADMONISHMENT Currupt Rule Blamed For African Misery

Pope John Paul II blasted corruption and repression by African governments Friday in a landmark document that told the Roman Catholic Church to champion the disadvantaged on the world's poorest continent.

The 150-page document, known as an Apostolic Exhortation, was released Friday in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, during a papal visit. The document laid blame for misery, wars and political instability squarely at the door of misrule.

The pope wrote that Africa's economic problems were compounded by "the dishonesty of corrupt government leaders" who diverted public funds to their own pockets. "This is plain theft, whatever the legal camouflage may be." Reuters

***** NATO CONCESSION Russia Gets Exemption On Weapons Total

In a concession intended to reduce tensions with Russia, the United States and its NATO allies decided Friday to permit Russia to keep more tanks and artillery pieces in the Caucasus region than would be allowed under a 1990 treaty. …

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