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Greece: Killer of CIA agent is jailed

A man who took part in the killing of a CIA station chief 27 years ago in order to announce the existence of the anti-American urban guerrilla group November 17 is in custody, the authorities said Thursday.

Pavlos Serifis, 46, the man accused in connection with the 1975 murder of the station chief, Richard S. Welch, was arrested Wednesday while vacationing in northern Greece.

He was charged Thursday with taking part in a terrorist organization, but was spared murder charges because a 25-year statute of limitations expired two years ago.

Welch was shot in Athens as he returned from a Christmas party. The November 17 guerrilla group has since claimed responsibility for 22 more killings, including those of four American officials, in a series of bombings, rocket attacks and shootings.

North Korea regrets

sea battle with South

TOKYO _ North Korea expressed regret Thursday for a naval battle last month that killed five South Korean sailors, and offered to renew working-level talks aimed at improving relations between the wary neighbors.

Pyongyang stopped short of accepting blame for the clash, however, which occurred in seafood-rich waters along the disputed Yellow Sea boundary. The fight prompted Washington to withdraw its offer for high-level meetings with the North.

The South Korean government, which had demanded a full apology and prosecution of the North Korean sailors responsible, quickly embraced the statement as "a de facto apology."

Nigerian women end

protest at oil stations

LAGOS, Nigeria _ Village women chanted jubilantly Thursday after ending their weeklong occupation of ChevronTexaco oil pipeline stations in exchange for jobs, business loans, schools and hospitals.

Hundreds of women left the captured flow stations in southeastern Nigeria in canoes and on foot after protest leaders signed an agreement with company executives late Wednesday, both sides said.

It was the second time in less than two weeks that ChevronTexaco reached agreement with village women occupying their facilities. The first occurred last week with women occupying the company's main export terminal.

ChevronTexaco spokesman Sola Amole would not discuss details of the deal but said the company soon would hire an aid group to help realize the new development projects.

Colombian rebel group:

We won't oust mayors

BOGOTA, Colombia _ Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group has rejected the campaign of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to force the resignation of hundreds of mayors throughout the country.

The FARC, Colombia's largest guerrilla group, has threatened to kidnap or murder all of Colombia's 1,098 mayors if they don't resign. The rebel group has kidnapped the 3-year-old daughter of one mayor and the adult son of another. Two other mayors are being held hostage by the FARC, and the guerrillas are blamed for the murder of a third.

The National Liberation Army, or ELN, said it respects the FARC's campaign, but does not agree with its approach.

"We do not authorize anyone who gets involved in these types of demands," ELN leader Antonio Garcia said in a statement broadcast on radio late Wednesday.

Also . . .

RUSSIA LEGALIZES LAND SALES: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Thursday a bill allowing sales of farmland for the first time since the czarist era.

CRASH REPORT: Miscommunication between the pilot of a business jet and the Milan control tower were among several causes blamed for a runway collision last year that killed 118 people in Italy's worst civil aviation disaster, said a report released Thursday.

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