World digest 050402

Saturday, May 4, 2002

Trial in reporter slaying reopens, adjourns again

HYDERABAD, Pakistan -- The closed-door trial of Muslim militants charged in the kidnap-slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl resumed briefly under tight security Friday after moving from Karachi because of prosecution fears of a terrorist attack, officials said.

But the session was quickly adjourned after the defense appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the trial should be moved back to Karachi, lawyers said. The trial was to restart Monday.

A videotape received Feb. 21 by U.S. diplomats in Karachi confirmed Pearl, 38, was dead. His body has not been found.

Kosovo's head testifies against Milosevic

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Slobodan Milosevic confronted a longtime foe in his war crimes trial Friday, cross-examining Kosovo's president after he accused the former Yugoslav leader of oppressing ethnic Albanians.

President Ibrahim Rugova told the U.N. court he met several times with Milosevic during the Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians in 1998-1999.

Rugova, then an ethnic Albanian independence leader, said he was forced to appear with Milosevic in Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital, and denounce the bombing or face the "consequences."

Milosevic stands accused of five counts of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

Torrential rains heighten avalanche risk in Alps

ZURICH, Switzerland -- Torrential rains caused floods and mudslides in Switzerland and northern Italy on Friday, forcing the evacuation of some schools and homes and prompting an avalanche alert in the Alps.

Southern Switzerland, which has suffered a long drought and had a fire warning in its forests in place until a few days ago, got nearly 15 inches of rain during a 24-hour period -- more for this time of year than any other time since records began 50 years ago.

About 60 flights were canceled at Milan's Malpensa airport because of heavy winds and rain. Many bridges and roads were also shut.

Indian air force jet on patrol crashes into bank

JULLUNDUR, India -- An Indian air force jet on routine frontier patrol crashed into a bank building in northwestern India on Friday, starting a fire that killed at least eight people and injured 19, police and hospital officials said.

The pilot, who survived, reported that the Soviet-made MiG-21 had suffered engine failure, Air Force Chief S. Krishnaswamy said in New Delhi. India's aging MiG fleet is prone to crashes, with 100 in the last six years.

Jailed golf-ball retriever freed on bail in Britain

LONDON -- A man sentenced to six months in jail for recovering balls from a golf course lake and selling them was freed on bail Friday while he appeals his sentence.

John Collinson, 36, made a living retrieving lost balls and selling them for 20 cents each.

Police caught Collinson equipped with a diving suit, in August at Whetstone Golf Course in central England. He and colleague Terry Rostron, 24, had fished 1,158 balls from a pond at the course.

Collinson claimed the balls didn't belong to anyone.

-- From wire reports

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