World briefs 3/16/06

Thursday, March 16, 2006

United Nations approves Human Rights Council

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. member states ignored U.S. opposition and approved a new Human Rights Council on Wednesday, attempting to strengthen the world body's machinery to deal with major human rights offenders. The vote in the 191-member General Assembly was 170-4, with three abstentions. The Bush administration refused to back the new council, saying it was not the radical reform needed to ensure that countries like Cuba, Sudan, Myanmar and Zimbabwe -- known as rights abusers -- were barred from membership. U.S. officials said Washington does not support withholding money from the U.N. budget that will fund the new council, but no decision has been made on whether it will seek a seat on the new council.

Two Bosnian Muslim commanders convicted

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Two Bosnian Muslim army commanders were convicted of war crimes Wednesday for failing to rein in foreign Muslim volunteers who murdered and tortured Bosnian Croats and Serbs in a 1990s "holy war." The U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague sentenced former Bosnian army chief of staff Enver Hadzihasanovic to five years in prison and his deputy, Amir Kubura, to 2 1/2 years. It was the first time the Yugoslav tribunal dealt with the so-called mujahedeen, or holy warriors, who came mainly from North Africa and the Middle East to fight on the Muslim side in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.

Six men hospitalized due to reactions in drug test

LONDON -- Two men were hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday and four others were in serious condition after suffering adverse reactions in trials of a new drug, and British regulators ordered the tests suspended. Parexel International, which supervised the trial, identified the drug as TGN1412, a monoclonal antibody developed by TeGenero AG of Wuerzburg, Germany, for treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and leukemia. Ganesh Suntharalingam, clinical director of intensive care at Northwick Park Hospital, said two of the men were in critical condition and four were in serious condition but showing signs of improvement.

Milosevic's body returns home to Belgrade

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- The body of Slobodan Milosevic returned home Wednesday to a low-key welcome, with baggage handlers unceremoniously removing the former president's casket from a jetliner's cargo hold after a slew of suitcases. But some diehards who stood in the cold and snow flurries greeted his coffin with tears, kisses and wailing, reflecting the divisive emotions that Milosevic can still muster, even in death. Milosevic died last weekend at a U.N. detention center in the Netherlands near the war crimes tribunal that was trying him on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. He will be buried Saturday in the grounds of the family estate in the industrial town of Pozarevac, about 30 miles southeast of Belgrade, an official of Milosevic's Socialist Party said.

-- From wire reports

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