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News Briefs II

Yeltsin Pays Respects to Hussein

Los Angeles Times

Ignoring his doctors' advice not to travel, a frail President Boris N. Yeltsin flew to Jordan on Monday to pay his respects to King Hussein and to remind the world that Russia's leader still has a place in international affairs.

Arriving at the king's palace in Amman, Yeltsin, 68, walked slowly up the steps with the help of an aide. Appearing somewhat disoriented, he waved to people in the crowd outside, then spent about 15 minutes in the palace before departing.

He was in the air and on his way back to Moscow before the king's funeral was over yet managed to portray himself as a gutsy leader who will go to great lengths to fulfill his obligations as president.

"He wouldn't want to miss such an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that he is still president and can make his own decisions regardless of what his aides or doctors might say," said Sergei A. Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies in Moscow. "It is all about power. Yeltsin loves power far more than his own health."

Appearing on the world stage in Amman even briefly was in keeping with the current style of Yeltsin's presidency. The leader, whose behavior has long been unpredictable, has become even more erratic in recent months as his health has deteriorated.

Bell Begins TTY Phone Service

The Baltimore Sun

Bell Atlantic Corp. on Monday introduced a new service designed to allow the hearing-impaired and speech-disabled in Maryland to use telephones more easily. The service allows callers to gain access to text-based TTY phone systems by dialing three digits 711 rather than the previous 11-digit toll-free number.

With the new system, Maryland becomes the first state in the continental United States to have 711 calling. Hawaii has such a service.

A TTY system allows a hearing-impaired or speech-disabled caller to use a telephone by typing a text message. The message is sent to one of the special relay centers across the country. At these centers, an operator reads the message to the person at the other end of the phone call.

The operator then types the other party's verbal response so that it can be read by the caller. The 711 access code is dialed by anyone calling from or to a TTY phone. The system may be used with any phone.

Callers will not pay any extra fees to use the 711 service. The existing 11-digit number, 1-800-735-2258, will remain in effect and is still required for calls made from outside Maryland.

Maryland Relay, the state-operated relay center handling TTY calls in Maryland, carries more traffic per capita than any other relay service in the nation, with more than 200,000 calls per month.

Man Arrested in Connection With

Embassy Bombing Released

Los Angeles Times

A mechanic arrested last week in connection with last year's bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has been released without charge, the man's lawyer said Monday.

Ali Mohfoudh Salim was released Saturday from a police station in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Following claims of torture and unlawful detention, a Kenyan high court had ordered Friday that Salim be released or brought before a court as soon as possible. The court also ordered the Immigration Department not to allow U.S. agents to take Salim out of the country for further questioning about the Aug. 7 blast.

The development marked the FBI's first legal obstacle in its hunt for bombing suspects in Kenya.

Taib Ali Taib, Salim's lawyer, said his client had been harassed and physically abused, and his passport confiscated by security agents. Salim would file an affidavit in court Tuesday, Taib said.

"He was beaten, he was kicked, he was told he was going to be extradited," Taib said of his client, adding that Salim was yet to undergo a thorough medical check-up to determine the extent of his injuries.

Taib said Salim was arrested Thursday by FBI agents and Kenyan police, held incommunicado for three days, and denied a phone call and legal representation.

Pharmaceutical Workers Walk Out

Los Angeles Times
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia

More than a thousand ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. workers walked off the job Monday to support their boss, Milan Panic, in his fight to take back a factory seized by the Yugoslav government.

But police here turned the screws still tighter on ICN's Yugoslav subsidiary by arresting six of his local vice presidents, Panic said.

"I think this is not about business anymore," Panic, chairman and chief executive officer of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company, said in a telephone interview Monday from Hungary. "This is violating the human rights of these people. This cannot be left unpunished."

The government seized the Yugoslav subsidiary here Friday, and police armed with assault rifles entered the plant Saturday to impose new management.

Panic is a former Yugoslav prime minister and political archenemy of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who is fighting U.S.-led pressure to make a permanent peace with ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo province or face attack by NATO forces.

Panic sees the government's move, which he labeled a nationalization, as part of an anti-American campaign stirred up by Serb nationalists opposed to current Kosovo peace talks in France and to plans for putting about 30,000 NATO troops in Kosovo if a deal is reached.

Although they refused to blame Milosevic by name, both Panic and his general manager, Dusan Mitevic, left no doubt they believe that the Yugoslav president is behind the seizure of ICN's plant.

"You have to keep in mind that the main way this government functions is through personal authority," Mitevic said. "Only one personality has power here. All others are executors."