World digest 04/26/03

Saturday, April 26, 2003

U.S. soldier killed in battle with Taliban

BAGRAM, Afghanistan -- American troops clashed with suspected Taliban gunmen near the Pakistan border Friday, leaving one U.S. soldier dead and several wounded, the military said.

An Afghan soldier accompanying the patrol of about 35 U.S. special forces in Paktika province also was hurt, Col. Roger King told The Associated Press.

The gunbattle at Shkin involved at least 20 enemy fighters, King said at Bagram, the U.S. military headquarters north of the capital, Kabul.

At least three enemy fighters were killed, while the remainder escaped into Pakistan.

Police storm hijacked bus, free hostages

ALGERMISSEN, Germany -- A gunman hijacked a bus in the northern German city of Bremen on Friday, taking 18 people hostage and leading police on a cross-country highway chase.

No one was injured in the seven-hour ordeal, which ended when police stormed the bus and captured the gunman, police spokesman Walter Wollott said.

Police said the hijacker fired a shot, but the circumstances were unclear. A German television reporter at the scene said he heard no shots.

The motive remains unknown.

Mandela's ex-wife gets four years in prison

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to four years in prison Friday for her conviction on fraud and theft charges.

She was convicted Thursday of 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft of money from a women's political league. The judge handed down a five-year sentence Friday but suspended one year of that term.

Magistrate Peet Johnson said she could be released on parole after eight months and required to perform community service for the remainder of her term.

Madikizela-Mandela had pleaded innocent to 60 charges of fraud and 25 of theft involving $120,000 at the African National Congress Women's League, which Madikizela-Mandela leads.

Bomb in Kashmir kills three at courthouse

SRINAGAR, India -- A powerful explosion ripped through a courthouse Friday in the northern state of Kashmir, killing three people and injuring 34 amid a surge in suspected separatist violence in the Himalayan region.

The blast occurred about 2 p.m. in the town of Pattan, 20 miles north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, said Abdul Rashid Khan, a police official.

Police suspect separatist guerrillas planted or threw a bomb into the courthouse.

Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani troops have been exchanging artillery fire since late Thursday along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two nuclear rivals.

Historians fail to find who betrayed Anne Frank

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- The betrayer of Jewish teenager Anne Frank remains unknown after Dutch historians Friday rejected two new theories about who revealed her hiding place to the Nazis, saying they are not substantiated.

The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation reopened the nearly 60-year-old mystery for the third time since World War II last July, responding to claims in books published in 1998 and 2002.

But nine months of research were unable to reveal who is to blame for the discovery by the German occupiers of the Frank family's attic hide-out in Amsterdam.

Anne Frank's diary describes 25 months locked in a warehouse annex with another family. Published after the war, it has been read by millions of people and made her a symbol of the Holocaust.

The institute said it was unable to identify who provided the information that led to the Frank's arrest in 1944, but said the three best-known suspects are probably innocent.

-- From wire reports

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