World briefs 11/01/02

Friday, November 1, 2002

Anti-war protesters march against U.S. in Athens

ATHENS, Greece -- Thousands of protesters opposing a possible U.S. attack on Iraq marched to the U.S. Embassy on Thursday, chanting anti-American slogans and burning flags.

Police used tear gas to disperse a small group of stone-throwing demonstrators among the more than 8,000 marchers. The youths later set fire to a parked car and damaged three other vehicles, police said.

Other protesters burned American and European Union flags and joined in chants against President Bush.

"Terrorist Bush, hands off Iraq," the marchers cried before leaving peacefully. Scores of riot police guarded the embassy compound.

The United States has a military base on the Greek island of Crete.

Red Cross helps Afghan prisoners get home

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The International Red Cross was helping three Afghans freed from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay rejoin their families in far-flung regions of Afghanistan, an ICRC spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The men were freed from the U.S. base last weekend and returned to the Afghan capital, Kabul.

"We've been requested by the authorities to provide assistance to return the former detainees back to their families, to organize their transport back home," said ICRC spokeswoman Caroline Douilliez.

Two of the men were flown from Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar, where the ICRC would arrange transport to their homes in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, Douilliez said. A private car was hired to take the third man to Paktika province.

Witness says Sept. 11 suspect prayed with Atta

HAMBURG, Germany -- A Moroccan accused of supporting the Sept. 11 terrorists often prayed with suicide pilot Mohamed Atta, a witness told a German court Thursday, describing the lead hijacker as a close friend of the defendant.

The witness, Holger Liszkovski, a 29-year-old student, who lived for roughly three years in the same university housing complex in Hamburg as defendant Mounir el Motassadeq testified that Atta frequently visited and shared meals with him.

El Motassadeq, the first Sept. 11 suspect to stand trial, has acknowledged being friendly with members of the Hamburg al-Qaida cell, which included Sept. 11 pilots Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah. But he denied knowing of their plot to attack the United States.

Stalinist-era agent guilty of deporting children

TALLINN, Estonia -- Judges convicted an 81-year-old former Soviet secret police agent Thursday of helping to deport 41 people, including children, from Estonia to Siberia in the late 1940s.

Juri Karpov was given a suspended sentence and a small fine. He had faced a maximum penalty of life in prison for crimes against humanity, but the City Court in Tallinn, Estonia's capital, opted for an eight-year suspended sentence and a fine of $230 because of his advanced age.

The fine amounts to a bit less than the average monthly wage in Estonia.

Prosecutors said Karpov delivered whole families deemed enemies of the communist regime to cattle cars fitted with iron bars. They were carted 1,200 miles to Siberia; at least three of the 41 died in the harsh conditions of exile.

McDonald's France tells children to limit fast food

PARIS -- The French division of McDonald's has run ads that included a surprising suggestion: Kids shouldn't eat at McDonald's more than once a week.

The advertisements, quoting information from specialists, aim to show that "McDonald's meals are part of a balanced weekly diet," said Euro RSCG, the agency that came up with the ads, which appeared this spring, mostly in French women's magazines.

Alongside quotes from specialists addressing obesity and diets for children, the ads described how McDonald's hamburgers are made of 100 percent real beef and cooked on a grill free of additional oil.

-- From wire reports

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