1. Archive

Torpedo fuel leak doomed "Kursk'

Leaking torpedo propellant caused the explosion that sank the Kursk nuclear submarine nearly two years ago, killing its 118-man crew in what Russia's top prosecutor on Friday called a technical malfunction for which no one was to blame.

Closing the books on one of Russia's worst post-Soviet disasters, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov also defended the Kremlin's handling of the rescue efforts and said no evidence was found to back up allegations that a collision with a Western submarine or a World War II mine could have been at fault.

Ustinov said all the sailors aboard died within eight hours after the Kursk sank in the Barents Sea on Aug. 12, 2000 _ long before any help could arrive.

Greece arrests another terror leader

ATHENS, Greece _ Greek police struck again at the crippled November 17 terrorist group and arrested Nikos Papanastasiou, an unassuming shopkeeper accused of helping found Europe's most elusive urban guerrilla band.

A surprisingly common face is emerging from an organization that carried a reputation for fanatical secrecy and ruthless precision. Papanastasiou had run a souvenir shop in central Athens. Another alleged co-founder and mastermind, 58-year-old Alexandros Giotopoulos, says he worked translating French texts.

On Friday, Pavlos Serifis, accused of being November 17's second-in-command, told police Giotopoulos was the gunman who killed CIA station chief Richard Welch in 1975 _ the slaying that first brought attention to the group. Serifis was arrested Wednesday.

Serifis, 46, admitted being a lookout in the Welch attack, police said. The extent of Papanastasiou's involvement in the Welch killing and others was not immediately clear.

Milosevic chief defends policies

THE HAGUE, Netherlands _ Slobodan Milosevic's state security chief defended the former Yugoslav president at his war crimes trial Friday, claiming Milosevic gave explicit orders to protect ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo.

Rade Markovic, the last prosecution witness to appear before Milosevic's trial takes a four-week recess, testified that hundreds of police and army soldiers were prosecuted for committing excesses against Albanians.

"More than 200 criminal charges were filed against members of the police, and I think a similar figure stands for the army," said Markovic.