World briefs 1/24/04

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Parmalat aide plunges to death from river bridge

ROME -- A Parmalat employee who had been questioned in the company's fraud scandal died in an apparent suicide, officials said Friday, as investigators searched another bank office and again questioned the company's jailed founder. Alessandro Bassi had worked closely with two jailed former company financial managers, Italian news reports said. Bassi had been questioned by investigators but wasn't considered a suspect, prosecutors said. Bassi plunged to his death from a bridge over a small river in the countryside near Parma. Authorities were awaiting autopsy results before making an official ruling on the death.

Bird flu epidemic grows; one death suspected

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand and Cambodia confirmed bird flu outbreaks Friday, bringing the number of Asian nations hit by the virus to six. World health officials recommended quarantining people as an ailing Thai man died -- the country's first suspected bird flu death. Thailand is now the second country where people, not just chickens, have come down with the illness recently. The other is Vietnam, where the virus has claimed five lives. Asia is on a regionwide health alert. Governments have started slaughtering chickens as they scramble to contain the outbreak. Millions of chickens have died or been killed in the six countries, which also include South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.-- From wire reports

Thai court upholds extradition of accused killer

BANGKOK, Thailand -- A Thai court on Friday cleared the last hurdle in the way of the extradition to the United States of a Florida millionaire wanted in the 1987 murder of his socialite wife. James Vincent Sullivan, 62, is accused of paying another man $25,000 to kill Lita McClinton Sullivan to avoid losing property in a divorce. U.S. authorities say Sullivan is wanted on murder, aggravated assault and other charges. Sullivan denies the allegations. Lita McClinton Sullivan, 35, was fatally shot in the head on Jan. 16, 1987, at her Atlanta home by somebody posing as a flower delivery man. Thailand's Appeals Court on Friday confirmed a lower court ruling that Sullivan can remain in custody on the extradition request, and he can be sent back to America at any time, said his lawyer, Puttri Kuvanonda.

-- From wire reports

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