World briefs 9/18/02

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Farmer sentenced to 15 years for settler's death

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- A white farmer convicted of murder for running over a black settler occupying part of his land was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison.

The farmer, Philip Bezuidenhout, was the second person convicted of murder in more than two years of political violence that has left about 200 people dead. Most of the violence has been blamed on the black squatters and the ruling party.

Bezuidenhout, 52, pleaded innocent to murdering Fabian Mapenzauswa, saying he accidentally ran over the man with his truck in July 2001 in the eastern district of Odzi, 150 miles east of Harare.

Mapenzauswa was one of thousands of blacks who occupied white-owned farm land over the last two years, demanding the government seize the land and marking out plots for themselves.

Ukrainian police clear protesters' tents at dark

KIEV, Ukraine -- Several thousand riot police armed with shields and rubber truncheons broke up a tent camp and evicted protesters in front of the Ukrainian president's office before dawn Tuesday, after tens of thousands of people marched to demand he resign or call early elections.

Following the country's biggest demonstrations since Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union 11 years ago, protesters representing an array of opposition groups from Communists to pro-western reformers set up 167 tents under a heavy downpour Monday evening. They vowed to occupy the area until President Leonid Kuchma steps down.

Dynamite-filled tanker was headed to U.S. base

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A fuel tanker seized over the weekend with sticks of dynamite attached to it was headed to Bagram Air Base, the headquarters of the U.S. military in Afghanistan, a peacekeeping spokesman said Tuesday.

The truck was filled with aviation fuel when it was stopped Saturday by Afghan soldiers and international peacekeepers at a checkpoint in southern Kabul, officials said, and two men in the truck were arrested.

Security services had been on the lookout for the tanker after receiving a tip a week before that it might be passing through the Afghan capital.

Officials said nine sticks of dynamite were fastened to the tanker, one of them with a fuse attached.

Canadian officials report first death from West Nile

TORONTO -- Health officials said Tuesday a 70-year-old Ontario man died of West Nile virus, the first human fatality in which the disease was contracted in Canada.

Another Canadian who died of West Nile virus in 1999 got the disease during a visit to the United States.

"It is clear that Ontario has entered a new era of concern for public health," provincial Health Minister Tony Clement told reporters in announcing confirmation.

The name of the victim was not made public. Dr. Neil Rau said the man died over the weekend at a hospital west of Toronto.

Two other Ontario men have West Nile virus, and 14 other possible cases are awaiting confirmation of laboratory tests.

Malaysia will let FBI question terror suspect

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia will let the FBI question a suspected Islamic militant who allegedly arranged a key meeting of Sept. 11 plotters, officials said.

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told The Associated Press this week that the Malaysian government has agreed to a U.S. request to question Yazid Sufaat, who has been in Malaysian custody since December.

Yazid, a former Malaysian army captain, allegedly allowed al-Qaida operatives, including two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, to meet in an apartment he owned near Kuala Lumpur in January 2000. Yazid also allegedly gave Zacarias Moussaoui, who is charged in the United States in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, a letter of employment that officials believe may have helped him get a U.S. visa.

Malaysian officials said FBI agents would question Yazid with Malaysian security officials present. No date was set.

-- From wire reports

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