Belarus: Ambassadors to leave
MINSK The Belarusian Foreign Ministry told the U.S. ambassador on Friday to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador from the U.S. over economic sanctions Washington imposed on the former Soviet nation last year.
A State Department official said that U.S. Ambassador Karen Stewart had not been formally expelled, though Belarus suggested she go back to Washington for consultations. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said its demand that the U.S. ambassador leave the country had been prompted by U.S. sanctions imposed last fall against Belarus' state-controlled oil-processing and chemicals company, Belneftekhim.
Colombia: Rebel leader killed
BOGOTA A top rebel leader was killed by his own chief of security, who gave Colombian troops the leader's severed hand as proof, the defense minister said Friday.
Ivan Rios was the second top rebel killed in a week, a major setback for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest rebel force. No top Colombian rebel leader had ever been slain until Raul Reyes was killed last Saturday in a cross-border raid by Colombian troops into Ecuador that set off an international diplomatic crisis.
Cyprus: Prolonged drought
NICOSIA Cyprus is considering importing water from Lebanon to deal with a prolonged drought that has seen water reservoirs dwindle to a tenth of capacity, the agriculture minister said Friday.
Michalis Polynikis said authorities would decide within 10 days whether it would be feasible for tankers to ship up to 10.5 million cubic feet of water a day from nearby Lebanon.
England: Thatcher hospitalized
LONDON Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was hospitalized in stable condition in central London on Saturday and was undergoing medical checks, authorities said.
St. Thomas' Hospital said the former leader, 82, was expected to spend the night in the hospital for observation. In March 2002, Thatcher cut back her workload after doctors said she had suffered a series of strokes.
England: Diana inquest
LONDON Prince Philip will not be called to testify at the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, a coroner said Friday.
Lord Justice Scott Baker said it would not be useful to call Queen Elizabeth II's husband or put questions to the queen herself. Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi's father, and his attorney, Michael Mansfield, have claimed the 1997 car accident in a Paris tunnel was orchestrated by British intelligence agents to thwart the couple's plans to marry.
Sweden: Painting recovered
STOCKHOLM Police have recovered a painting by Swedish writer and painter August Strindberg that was stolen from a Stockholm museum two years ago and arrested two suspects, authorities said Friday.
Police found the 19th-century painting "Svartsjukans Natt," or "Jealousy's Night," during a raid of a home in a Stockholm suburb late Thursday, police spokesman Lars Alm said. The dark abstract rendering of a stormy sea at night has an estimated auction value of more than $1.5 million.