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Three Released U.S. Soldiers Enjoy Reunions With Families in Germany LOS ANGELES TIMES


Three U.S. soldiers held joyous reunions with their families who traveled to Germany on Monday with plans to spend every waking hour together after the servicemen were released from captivity in Yugoslavia.

They still are undergoing an extensive debriefing process at the U.S. Army medical center in this bucolic town about 90 miles west of Frankfurt.

Although the three soldiers had said in previous interviews that they were well treated by their Yugoslav captors until they were released Sunday, medical personnel said new tests showed that the soldiers were probably treated roughly in their capture and early in their 32 days of captivity.

X-rays revealed that Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez of Los Angeles had two fractured ribs in addition to some minor swelling in his legs. A CT scan of Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone’s nose revealed that it was broken. However, neither man will undergo further surgery, according to Army doctors. Two of the men lost a little more than 10 pounds.

Nonetheless, the soldiers’ overall physical and emotional prognosis is extremely good, said Col. Mike Sullivan, chief public affairs spokesman for the U.S. Army in Europe. “These are capable folks who are going to come out of this just fine,” he said.

AOL Won’t Aid Comcast in Bid War THE WASHINGTON POST -- America Online Inc. has decided against helping Comcast Corp. raise its bid for cable TV giant MediaOne Group Inc., dealing a blow to Comcast’s chances of outbidding AT&T Corp. for the company, sources closed to the negotiations said Monday.

For the past week, AOL had been exploring ways to become a “white knight” to help Comcast, also a major cable company, in what has become the most expensive corporate bidding war in history.

AOL, the online service, decided not to meet the multibillion-dollar sum that Comcast requested, sources close to Comcast said, although both companies declined to offer specifics. The money would have been an AOL investment in a combined Comcast-MediaOne.

Comcast remains in discussions with other would-be allies, including Microsoft Corp., and has until Thursday at midnight to top AT&T’s $58 billion offer.

One high-placed source in Comcast’s camp called the discussions “encouraging” but added that “we’ll have to wait and see” if a counteroffer emerges.

On Monday, Englewood, Colo.-based MediaOne, the third-largest cable company, officially accepted AT&T’s offer, terminating a month-old agreement with Comcast, which offered stock valued at about $50 billion. If it can’t beat AT&T, Comcast would receive a “breakup” fee of $1.5 billion from MediaOne.

The bidding for MediaOne reflects AT&T’s need to expand beyond its stagnated long-distance telephone business and get into cable, which it hopes will be the preferred pipeline for delivering voice, video and data to consumers.