World digest 09/07/02

Separatist violence kills six in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India -- Suspected Islamic militants killed six people in attacks in disputed Kashmir on Friday, and separatists said four of their leaders were placed under house arrest to stop them from campaigning for a boycott of upcoming elections.

Political violence has surged in recent weeks in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as militants have tried to pressure candidates, voters and government officials not to participate in elections in the divided Himalayan province, scheduled for September and October.

In the bloodiest attack Friday, a convoy carrying Abdul Rehman Sheikh, a nominee for a party representing lower castes in the state elections, was ambushed while he was campaigning, witnesses said. Sheikh and three others were killed.

Sicily hit by strongest earthquake in 20 years

PALERMO, Sicily -- The strongest earthquake in 20 years shook the island of Sicily early Friday, injuring three people and damaging the parliament building and a church.

Italian news reports said two elderly people died of heart attacks as a result of the quake. It struck at 3:21 a.m., when most residents of the island were sleeping, and had a magnitude of 5.6, the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology said.

Several buildings, including a church and a historic palazzo housing the Sicilian parliament, were severely damaged but no buildings collapsed.

Iran successfully tests new ballistic missile

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran successfully test fired a new ballistic missile, news reports said Friday, and experts said it might be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

State-run Tehran television said the Fateh 110 A missile was "one the most accurate surface-to-surface missiles manufactured in the world." No details were given on when or where in Iran the test was conducted, nor was the missile's range revealed.

Doug Richardson, editor of the authoritative Jane's Missiles and Rockets, told The Associated Press the missile may be based on the Chinese DF-11 A missile, which has a range of 186 to 248 miles and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

If that range proves accurate, Iran would be able to fire the new missile well within the borders of Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan but not Israel.

Norway bans contact with 'Free Willy' whale

OSLO, Norway -- Norwegian officials on Friday barred people from getting near Keiko the killer whale, hoping to protect the star of the "Free Willy" movies from hordes of fans he appears to enjoy.

Six weeks after he was released from his pen in Iceland, the six-ton orca turned up 870 miles away in a western Norwegian fjord last week, drawing crowds wanting to pet him, swim with him, and even climb on friendly whale's back.

Keiko, now about 25, was captured as a two-year-old off Iceland, and lived in a series of aquariums until his stardom in the three "Free Willy" films led to a project to return him to the open ocean.

Experts have pleaded with locals and tourists around the narrow inlet to leave the whale alone, even though he appears to thrive on human contact. They also warned that all the attention could deprive Keiko of sleep and distract him from finding his own food.

'Unlucky word' ends trademark application

BERLIN -- German appliance maker BSH Bosch Siemens said Friday it has withdrawn U.S. trademark applications containing the word "Zyklon," chosen because it means cyclone in German but dropped because it was also the name of the poison gas used in Nazi death camps.

The company said the choice of the word was inadvertent, and that it withdrew the applications because of concern by Jewish groups.

"It is an unlucky word -- we see that now," spokeswoman Barbara Trost said. "But for us it is a technical word. We do not want to offend anybody, so the application was withdrawn."

-- From wire reports