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News Briefs I

Israel Denies Targeting U.N. Camp


Israel's artillery chief denied Monday that his troops deliberately targeted a U.N. peacekeeping camp before shelling it and killing 102 Lebanese civilians. But U.N. officials insist that an amateur videotape taken by a peacekeeper near the camp contradicts him because it allegedly shows an Israeli surveillance plane surveying the camp prior to the shelling.

Brig. Gen. Dan Harel, the Israeli Defense Forces head of artillery, was sent here Monday to answer questions from U.N. peacekeeping officials who are investigating the April 18 shelling of the camp, which was staffed by Fiji peacekeepers near Qana in the hills of southern Lebanon. Their preliminary findings are that Israel knew it was targeting the U.N. camp - and that Hizbollah fighters had fled into the camp after firing rockets into Israel moments before, according to U.N. sources.

Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's military adviser, Dutch Maj. Gen. Frank van Kappen, is conducting the investigation. Israel asked last week for time to address the question of intent before he releases his report, which U.N. sources said would be finished Monday night and given to Boutros-Ghali, who is expected to brief the Security Council Tuesday.

Harel insisted to reporters that the camp was shelled by accident and that Israel did not target the Hezbollah fighters who had fled into it. He said the surveillance plane - a pilotless drone - did not fly over the area until after the shelling, and then only to investigate U.N. claims that the camp was under fire.

But Timor Goksel, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, said Monday that the videotape, shot by a U.N. peacekeeper with his personal camera, proved Israel knew what it was doing.

Study Finds That Progesterone Might Increase Risk of AIDS


Researchers in New York City have found that giving progesterone to female monkeys as a contraceptive dramatically increases their risk of getting AIDS, opening the possibility that women given the same synthetic hormone for birth control could face the same increased risk.

That's important, experts say, since birth-control methods that use progesterone - such as depo-provera and Norplant - are growing in popularity worldwide because they can be administered as time-release implants or injections to allow a woman freedom from pregnancy for months on end.

And because the technology is relatively cheap, hormone implants have quickly become the contraceptive of choice for family-planning groups working with U.S. adolescents and women in developing countries with male-dominated cultures. It is these groups, experts said, who are most likely not to use condoms as a protection against AIDS, if they already feel they are protected against pregnancy.

In a telephone interview from Geneva, Dr. Peter Piot, head of AIDS efforts at the United Nations, said the data suggests that people involved in birth-control efforts "have to be extremely alert and vigilant" in following through on the research. "We've got to be as open and honest about the data as possible."

Former CIAChief's Body Found

The Baltimore Sun

The body of former CIA director William Colby washed up near a southern Maryland beach Monday, eight days after he disappeared while canoeing in the murky waters near his summer home.

Police said they found no signs of foul play, and believe the 76-year-old Colby drowned after falling into the mouth of Neale Sound during a solitary outing at the southern tip of Charles County.

"This is being investigated as a fatal boating accident," said Lieutenant Mark Sanders with the state Natural Resources Police. "The reason he was found this morning is quite simply that nature took its course and his body floated up."

The medical examiner's office in Baltimore is expected to release the results of an autopsy as early as Tuesday.