World briefs 8/31/04

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

IBM asks Swiss court to block Gypsy lawsuit

GENEVA -- Computer giant IBM said Monday it had asked Switzerland's highest court to block a lawsuit by Gypsies claiming the company's punch-card machines helped the Nazis more efficiently commit mass murder. IBM's attorneys have asked the Federal Tribunal to overturn a Geneva court ruling that allowed the case to proceed, said Brian Doyle, a spokesman for the Armonk, N.Y.-based firm. A Gypsy group filed the lawsuit after a 2001 book claimed the company's punch-card machines enabled the Nazis to make their killing operations more efficient.

Black box data indicate Russian jet not hijacked

MOSCOW -- Russia's transport minister, citing a black box recording from one of two planes that crashed minutes apart last week, said Monday there was no evidence of a hijacking attempt or any other disturbance before explosions aboard the jetliners. The conversation inside the cockpit of the Tu-154 plane indicated the crew was unable to contact traffic controllers and tried to manage the jet for some time after the blast on board. All 90 people aboard the aircraft were killed. Gen. Andrei Fetisov, chief of the scientific department at the Federal Security Service, said there was no longer any doubt that "both planes crashed as a result of explosions." Investigators were scraping for clues about Amanta Nagayeva, 30, and S. Dzhebirkhanova, 37, two Chechen women whose names were listed on tickets for the flights.

Americans warned after deadly Kabul bombing

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Investigators probing a deadly car bombing in the Afghan capital questioned a man detained at Kabul airport with traces of explosives on his hands, officials said Monday, while U.S. authorities warned all Americans in the capital to be inconspicuous. Taliban rebels claimed responsibility for Sunday's blast at a U.S. security firm, but officials said they are not ruling out any suspects, including al-Qaida. Hospital officials said 10 people were killed, including three Americans. The company confirmed that three of its American employees had been killed. On Monday, the U.S. Embassy e-mailed Americans in Kabul to tell them to limit their movements and take strict security measures.

-- From wire reports

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