World briefs 11/25/05

Friday, November 25, 2005

Historian admits Nazi gas chambers existed

VIENNA, Austria -- British historian David Irving now acknowledges that Nazi gas chambers existed, but admits that some of his past statements could be interpreted as denying people were gassed, his lawyer said Thursday on the eve of a court hearing. Prosecutors this week charged Irving, 67, under an Austrian law that makes denying the Holocaust a crime. The charges stem from two speeches he gave in Austria in 1989 in which he allegedly denied the existence of the chambers. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Galeras volcano erupts in southwestern Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Police and emergency officials were on high alert after the 14,110-foot Galeras volcano became active at dawn and dumped heaps of ash on the city of Pasto in southwestern Colombia. The government this month ordered the preventive evacuation of thousands of people living in the shadow of the volcano amid signs of an imminent eruption. But many farmers are believed to have defied the order and stayed behind, fearful of losing their livelihoods by leaving crops unattended. The volcano has a long history of activity, fraying nerves in Pasto. More than 100 minor tremors were felt in the city during the volcano's last major eruption, in April 2002, although no damage or injury was reported.

Pinochet indicted on new human rights charges

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was indicted on human rights charges Thursday and placed under house arrest, hours after he made bail on unrelated corruption charges filed only a day earlier. In a widely expected decision, Judge Victor Montiglio charged Pinochet in connection with the kidnapping and disappearance of six dissidents in the early years of his 1973-1990 dictatorship, his office said. Montiglio sent a court secretary to Pinochet's Santiago mansion to inform the general of the charges, which will force him to spend his 90th birthday Friday under arrest. The judge did not grant Pinochet bail. There was no immediate comment from Pinochet's lawyer, Pablo Rodriguez. The new indictment involves the disappearance of six dissidents arrested by Pinochet's security services in 1974.

New law allows 24-hour alcohol sales in London

LONDON -- Like some other Londoners, Chantal Faraut celebrated late Thursday night with a few drinks in one of the many pubs no longer forced to close at 11 p.m. As far as she's concerned, that early closing time never suited an international city like London. So she welcomes the fact that England and Wales have just relaxed their drinking laws, allowing many pubs to stay open later, some for 24 hours. The central government hopes the change in laws that had been in effect since World War I will stop the flood of drunks onto city streets just after the 11 p.m. closing time. But opponents say British consumption of alcohol -- among the most notorious, although hardly the heaviest, in Europe -- should not be encouraged.

Israel to return bodies of guerrillas killed in clash

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Israel on Thursday agreed to return the remains of three Hezbollah guerrillas killed in this week's border clashes, after Lebanon said such a move was vital to restoring calm to the area. The Israeli military issued a statement in Jerusalem saying Israel would transfer the bodies of the guerrillas "following the formal request made by the Lebanese government." It said the handover would take place at the Naqoura border crossing Friday morning. Lebanese Health Minister Mohammed Jawad Khalife had warned that the militant group might try to kidnap Israelis to trade for the bodies. "It is known that the resistance will try to secure the return of the bodies one way or another," he told Voice of Lebanon Radio. "And this usually ends up in negotiations to trade them for the bodies of Israeli soldiers or for prisoners." Prime Minister Fuad Saniora first made the demand during a visit to Qatar on Wednesday.

-- From wire reports

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