World and national briefs

Published: Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 12:57 a.m.

Blaze destroys homes in Australia's capital

  • CANBERRA, Australia - A fire swept into Australia's capital Saturday, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing thousands to flee. Two people were killed, police said.
    Emergency services said early Sunday that 388 homes were destroyed by the flames, Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio reported.
    Canberra "has experienced yesterday one of the most devastating events certainly in the history of the ACT and perhaps one of the most appalling natural disasters Australia has ever suffered," said John Stanhope, chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory.

    Report: Kuwaiti plotted to poison U.S. soldiers

  • KUWAIT CITY - A Kuwaiti soldier accused of spying for Iraq was working on plans to poison a large number of American soldiers, a well-connected Kuwaiti newspaper reported Saturday.
    The alleged spy, Sgt. Mohammed Hamad al-Juwayed of the Kuwaiti National Guards, also was helping Iraqi agents infiltrate the country with the aim of assassinating Kuwaiti politicians and blowing up oil and power facilities, according to the newspaper Al-Watan.

    Plot to assassinate Wash. governor alleged

  • OLYMPIA, Wash. - Federal agents say James D. Brailey, the one-time leader of an anti-government group, arrested for alleged firearms violations, may have been plotting to assassinate Gov. Gary Locke.
    The FBI was tipped about an alleged plot nearly two years ago, according to court papers.
    Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hartingh on Friday refused to release further details or say whether officials believed there was a credible threat.

    Palestinians: Man shot dead on roof in Gaza

  • JERUSALEM - A Palestinian man fixing a satellite dish on his rooftop was shot and killed in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Palestinians said. In the West Bank, Israeli troops tracked down and killed a Palestinian who took part in a deadly attack on a Jewish settlement, the army said.
    Also, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in comments slated to be published in Newsweek magazine this week that a peace plan being worked out by the so-called Quartet of nations should not be taken seriously.
    The group - the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia - was working on a peace plan to present to the Israelis and Palestinians in February.

    Villagers flee following massacre in Colombia

  • BOGOTA, Colombia - Villagers fled their homes in remote northwestern Colombia and soldiers patrolled the region Saturday after suspected leftist rebels shot and killed at least 16 people, officials said.
    Survivors of Thursday night's killings in Antioquia province told local authorities that fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rounded up the victims, accused them of being members of a rival right-wing paramilitary army and then shot them in the head.
    About 240 people fled their homes in outlying villages to seek refuge in the town of San Carlos, 130 miles north of Bogota, Hugo Posada, a municipal official, told The Associated Press by telephone.
    - Compiled from The Associated Press
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