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U.S. AID WORKER ABDUCTED IN CHECHNYA REPORTEDLY ALIVE

An American aid worker who was abducted in Chechnya three weeks ago is alive, Russia's interior minister said Friday.

Kenneth Gluck, 38, a New York City native, was working with the international aid group Doctors Without Borders when he was seized by armed men on Jan. 9.

Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo said Gluck is alive but did not give any details, Russian news agencies reported.

Other officials have said Gluck is believed to be held by Chechen rebels under the command of a warlord known as Yakub.

Hundreds of people -- foreign aid workers, journalists, Russian soldiers and local residents -- have been kidnapped for ransom in Chechnya in recent years.

Annan meets Congo leader and is hopeful for peace

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan met the Congo's new president Friday, saying there is an encouraging new climate to end the 2 1/2 -year civil war that has engulfed much of central Africa.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila held a groundbreaking meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Washington on Thursday and then flew to New York to meet Annan and Security Council members, who echoed the secretary-general's hopes for new momentum to end the conflict.

Just seven days ago, Kabila was sworn in to replace his father, Laurent Kabila, who was assassinated on Jan. 16. The 29-year-old former head of the army has tried quickly to demonstrate that he wants to end the war.

Congo's civil war began in August 1998 when Laurent Kabila's main sponsors, Uganda and Rwanda, turned against him and began supporting a rebellion. Kabila held onto power and kept the rebels at bay with the help of new allies Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

2 Turkish lawmakers held in death of colleague

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Two lawmakers were charged with involuntary manslaughter Friday in the death of a legislator who died during a melee in parliament.

Mehmet Fevzi Sihanlioglu, 55, died of a heart attack late Tuesday after a debate turned violent, with deputies punching one another and throwing glasses. Sihanlioglu tried to break up the fight but apparently was punched several times. He suffered a heart attack after walking out of the chamber during the fight.

Cahit Tekelioglu and Mehmet Kundakci, members of the far-right Nationalist Action Party, are accused of hitting Sihanlioglu. Both were released pending trial. They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

At the time, parliament was debating a government proposal that would reduce the time allocated to debaters. Opponents of the proposal maintain that the move is designed to silence opposition parties.

The Nationalist Action Party is a member of three-party government coalition. Sihanlioglu's True Path Party is in the opposition.

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