World digest 12/12/01

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Milosevic's trial for war crimes scheduled

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A United Nations tribunal ruled Tuesday that Slobodan Milosevic's trial for war crimes in Kosovo will begin in February and be followed by a trial for genocide in Bosnia and crimes against humanity in Croatia.

The ruling came after Milosevic refused to enter a plea to an indictment accusing him of committing every crime in the tribunal's statute, including genocide. The judges entered a plea of innocent on his behalf.

Milosevic faces three separate indictments for crimes in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia dating from his 13 years in power in Yugoslavia, during which he is accused of instigating and conducting a decade of ethnic war.

Team arrives to help contain Ebola outbreak

LIBREVILLE, Gabon -- A World Health Organization team came to the Central African nation of Gabon Tuesday to help contain an outbreak of the Ebola virus that has killed at least 10 people.

The five-member team arrived in the capital, Libreville, in the morning and was expected to travel to the affected region in the remote northeastern province of Ogooue Ivindo, near the border with Republic of Congo.

The team will help local authorities isolate and treat victims, as well as distribute protective equipment like gloves and masks to prevent contact with the bodily fluids of patients, WHO officials said.

Taiwan researching medium-range missile

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan is actively researching a ballistic missile that could strike China, a U.S. think tank says, a weapon that could radically alter the military balance in one of the world's most dangerous hotspots.

The medium-range missile could hit targets 620 miles away, according to the new RAND Corp. study, "Taiwan's Foreign and Defense Policies: Features and Determinants."

The Rand study -- written by respected researchers Michael Swaine and James Mulvenon -- was based on "interviews in Taiwan" with unidentified sources.

A Taiwanese Defense Ministry official who spoke on condition he not be named said Tuesday that the island was not researching such a weapon.

The RAND report said the United States would likely detect any testing or deployment of the missiles and could pressure Taiwan to stop the program.

Hitler's book published legally in Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Adolf Hitler's autobiography has been published legally for the first time in Bulgaria, and vendors say it is selling well in a country where anti-Jewish sentiment is traditionally low.

"Mein Kampf" has not been publicly available in Bulgaria until now because it lacked two legal requirements: a critical preface stating the book is anti-Semitic and the name of a publisher.

Bulgaria was the only Nazi ally to save its Jewish citizens. Despite a deportation order of the pro-German government in the spring of 1943, Bulgaria's King Boris III rescinded the decree after a deluge of protests and appeals from lawmakers, clergymen and intellectuals.

Even now, the right-wing skinhead gangs targeting Jews and other minorities elsewhere in Europe are relatively rare in Bulgaria.

Italy ends stalemate on arrest warrants

ROME -- Under intense European pressure, Italy caved in Tuesday and endorsed a pan-European arrest warrant, ending a stalemate with its EU partners in the battle against terrorism.

The agreement was announced at a news conference by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

Italy's reluctance to endorse the sweeping warrant, seen as an important weapon against terrorism, had left it isolated from its partners in the EU. The flap was also a personal embarrassment for Berlusconi.

The 14 other EU nations had already agreed to a joint warrant for 32 crimes, ranging from terrorism to child pornography. Italy wanted to exclude fraud and corruption, charges Berlusconi himself has faced.

-- From wire reports

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