Robots continue to work on sunken Russian sub
MOSCOW (AP) -- The barge used in the operation to cut off the bow of the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine left the Barents Sea site Saturday, as underwater robots cleaned out holes carved in the rest of the submarine -- part of the preparations for pulling it to the surface.
Russia had initially planned to raise the massive vessel Saturday, but in recent weeks officials have admitted that numerous setbacks have put the international operation behind schedule. They now say it will be lifted around Sept. 25.
The severing of the Kursk's bow, completed Thursday by a Dutch consortium, was a key step before further salvage work could continue.
Russian officials said the first compartment of the submarine, mangled in the explosions that sunk the Kursk, had to be removed to reduce the risk of unexploded torpedoes detonating. The submarine sank Aug. 12, 2000, killing all 118 men aboard.
The Navy said underwater robots guided from surface ships cleaned the 26 holes pierced in the hull where steel cables are to be attached to raise the rest of the submarine.
Police arrest man with MS for opening marijuana cafe
MANCHESTER, England (AP) -- A man campaigning for the legalization of marijuana was arrested Saturday after opening Britain's first cafe openly selling the drug.
Colin Davies, a multiple sclerosis sufferer who uses marijuana to ease his symptoms, was involved in a scuffle with police soon after opening the doors of the Dutch Experience near Manchester.
Police said Davies was arrested for possessing marijuana "with intent to supply" it to others.
Davies, founder of the Medical Marijuana Cooperative, which campaigns for the drug to be prescribed for illnesses like multiple sclerosis, made headlines last year when he was photographed handing Queen Elizabeth II a bouquet containing pot plants during a royal visit to the city.
After Davies' arrest Saturday, police searched the cafe and arrested several other people for possessing the drug.
Vatican Radio transmitters cleared of causing leukemia
ROME (AP) -- A study by an international panel found no connection between electromagnetic emissions from Vatican Radio transmitters in a town outside Rome and leukemia rates in the area, Italy's health minister said Saturday.
Residents near the transmitter in Santa Maria di Galeria have said they suspect that some local leukemia cases may be linked to the emissions from Vatican Radio, which broadcasts the pope's words around the world.
The report from the five-month study, conducted by investigators from Italy, Britain and Germany and released by Health Minister Girolamo Sirchia, found that leukemia rates in and around Santa Maria di Galeria were no higher than rates in Rome.
Health concerns among residents prompted Italy's former environment minister to threaten to pull the plug on Radio Vatican earlier this year if it didn't bring its emissions in line with strict Italian regulations.
United Nations inaugurates East Timor's first assembly
DILI, East Timor (AP) -- The U.N. administration in East Timor on Saturday inaugurated the newly elected assembly that will draft the territory's first constitution, bringing it a step closer to full independence.
The 88-member assembly, which was voted in last month, will have three months to draft the charter and adopt East Timor's new political system.
At a ceremony presided over by local U.N. administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, the constitution writers swore to uphold the principles of democracy.
"Our struggle for 24 years has become a reality," said popular independence movement leader Xanana Gusmao.
Gusmao is widely expected to become East Timor's first president when it becomes fully independent next year. Until then, the United Nations is administering the territory.
De Mello began proceedings by calling on all present to stand for a minute of silence in memory of the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States.
U.N. peacekeepers arrive in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -- Armed U.N. peacekeepers were on patrol Saturday in a rebel-held mining town in Sierra Leone, deploying without interference in the key diamond-rich region.
About 250 Zambian U.N. troops rolled into the eastern town of Tongo late Friday, formally welcomed by rebel Revolutionary United Front leaders.
Sierra Leone's rebels fought their 10-year war largely to win control of the West African nation's diamond fields, as well as to put their leader, Foday Sankoh, into the presidency.
With that aim, rebels killed, enslaved, raped and burned tens of thousands of civilians.
Sankoh was captured in May 2000 and is awaiting an expected war crimes trial. Under military pressure from the forces of the United Nations, Britain and neighboring Guinea, rebels signed a cease-fire with the government in November.
About 18,000 combatants have now disarmed, including an estimated half of the rebel force. More than 16,000 U.N. troops have been deployed in the U.N.'s largest such mission worldwide.