World briefs 7/6/04

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

French serial killings suspect reveals bodies

PARIS -- As a helicopter clattered overhead and police swarmed around, a serene and bespectacled 62-year-old Frenchman in a bulletproof vest led detectives through the woods surrounding a stately 18th century chateau. There they found two bodies out of nine victims that the man, confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret, said last week that he had killed. He has shown no remorse, investigators say, and they fear there may be many other victims.

Milosevic delays defense due to health concerns

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A U.N. tribunal delayed the opening of Slobodan Milosevic's defense case Monday due to concerns about his health, and an independent lawyer said he may not be fit to continue his trial. Judges said doctors for the 62-year-old former Yugoslav president had warned that he urgently needed rest, and said they would review plans on how to continue.

Rabbis accuse Israeli chief of inciting violence

JERUSALEM -- Rabbis representing Jewish settlers accused Israel's internal security chief Monday of "incitement" after he warned that opponents of the planned dismantling of settlements are growing increasingly militant. In the West Bank town of Jenin, Israeli troops exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen who took cover in a building. Palestinian officials said a fugitive from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent group with ties to the ruling Fatah movement, was killed.

U.S. military families in Bahrain ordered to leave

MANAMA, Bahrain -- U.S. military families will begin leaving Bahrain in the next few days following reports terrorists were planning attacks here, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet said Monday. Cmdr. James Graybeal said the formal departure orders came late Sunday, two days after the Pentagon announced the first such mandatory evacuation from this longtime U.S. ally in the Gulf. Graybeal said the orders affected 350 families, or about 650 people.

Italy cuts $9.2 billion in budget to comply with EU

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi won an endorsement Monday from his European Union colleagues for his plans to narrow Italy's yawning budget deficit with $9.2 billion in new spending cuts and tax measures. Berlusconi persuaded EU finance ministers that a threatened reprimand was unnecessary because he had Italy's finances under control.-- From wire reports

Austrian president's condition poor following heart failure

VIENNA, Austria -- Austrian President Thomas Klestil was hospitalized in intensive care Monday after suffering heart failure at his suburban villa and having to be revived during an emergency helicopter flight. Doctors at Vienna's General Hospital said they could not rule out that Klestil, 71, suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen while hospital staff tried to get his heart functioning again. Wolfgang Graninger, the specialist in charge of the medical team overseeing Klestil, was quoted as telling the daily newspaper Presse that the president's condition was "very life-threatening" and he was clinically dead twice.

Peers reject ban on spanking in Britain

LONDON -- British lawmakers on Monday voted against a ban on parents spanking their children, and decided instead to tighten existing rules. After a three-hour debate in the House of Lords, peers rejected the ban by 250 votes to 75. Instead, they voted by 226-91 to allow moderate spanking, but make it easier to prosecute parents who physically or mentally abuse their children by spanking.

Sierra Leone rebels go on U.N. trial

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- Calling it a "tale of horror," a U.N.-sponsored war crimes court opened the first trials Monday for rebel military commanders accused in a vicious 10-year campaign for control of diamond-rich Sierra Leone. Onlookers in the tightly guarded courtroom muttered as the court detailed the allegations in an 18-count joint indictment -- systematic killings, rapes, enslavement of child soldiers and mutilation with machetes. Prosecutors also described a network of foreign backing for the rebels, including training and forces from Liberia's then-President Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

-- From wire reports

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