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News Briefs I

KGB Officer Says Ames Provided Soviets with Valuable Info

The Washington Post

The original Soviet handler of confessed spy Aldrich H. Ames is quoted in a new book as saying Ames turned over valuable information from the beginning of his spying, rather than duping the Soviets at the start with worthless data as Ames has claimed.

Retired KGB officer Vicktor Cherkashin said the first secrets turned over to Moscow by the now-jailed former CIA counterintelligence officer included identification of two KGB officers then stationed in the Soviet Embassy in Washington but working for U.S. intelligence.

This statement "contradicts Ames's claim that he (initially) was scamming the Soviets with useless information and indicates he was coldbloodedly selling the names of two vital recruits," writes Pete Earley in his new book, "Confessions of a Spy," excerpted this week in U.S. News & World Report.

Earley writes that, during interviews he had with Ames in 1994 in prison in Alexandria, the 31-year veteran CIA officer said he had identified 25 "human assets" working for western intelligence to the KGB. That is more than twice the number of individuals than U.S officials have acknowledged publicly.

Army Suspends McKinney

Los Angeles Times

The Army suspended its top noncommissioned officer Monday from regular duties, saying accusations he sexually harassed a subordinate made it "increasingly difficult" for him to carry out his job.

The suspension of Gene C. McKinney, the sergeant major of the Army, comes one day after two senators and his accuser, former Sgt. Major Brenda L. Hoster, complained on television that McKinney shouldn't be allowed to to work when Army drill instructors accused of sexual harassment had been suspended from their jobs.

The difference in treatment suggested a "different system of justice" for the senior ranks, Hoster said.

Hoster, 39, went public last week with allegations that McKinney, for whom she worked as a public relations aide, had pressured her for sex during an April business trip to Hawaii.

According to Hoster's account, McKinney often berated her for poor performance but on several occasions also made what she took to be sexual overtures.

McKinney, 46, has denied the allegations.

Riots in Separatist Chinese Region

The Washington Post

Riots broke out in a town in the separatist Xinjiang region last week as about 1,000 Muslim separatists battled police, destroyed shops and burned cars, according to reports Monday by Western news agencies and a Hong Kong newspaper.

More than 10 people were killed, more than 100 injured and as many as 500 arrested before security forces quelled the unrest last Wednesday and Thursday in the town of Yining, in far western Xinjiang, about 30 miles from the border of the former Soviet republic of Kazakstan, the reports said. The bodies of many victims of the disturbances were burned, reports said.

The unrest is the latest in a series of incidents in the vast but sparsely populated territory where tensions have often flared between the ruling minority Han Chinese and the majority, mostly Muslim, ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic people who had their own Republic of East Turkestan from 1944 to 1949.

According to an account by Reuter, the latest unrest erupted after a Chinese policeman tried to arrest a Uighur criminal suspect. A local source said that the suspect and his family resisted arrest. The scene attracted neighbors and onlookers and the crowd swelled to more than 1,000 and turned to rioting. Later demonstrators marched on a government building and demanded an end to Han Chinese rule.