World briefs 11/20/02

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Michael Jackson dangles child from hotel window

BERLIN -- Michael Jackson rewarded fans outside his hotel with a brief appearance and glimpse of his youngest child -- dangling the toddler over a fourth-floor balcony.

The boy, his legs kicking, had what appeared to be a white cloth over his head as Jackson, briefly holding the child with one arm, displayed him Tuesday to fans waiting below the window of the Adlon Hotel.

The child was the reclusive singer's third and youngest, Prince Michael II, said Antje Sigesmund, a spokeswoman for the Bambi entertainment award ceremony, which Jackson is attending in Berlin.

Jackson smiled and waved to the fans, at one point tossing a small white towel to the crowd below. The singer then went inside and retrieved the toddler, using one arm to hold the boy out over the rail of the hotel.

Little is known about Prince Michael II. People Magazine reported in August that he was six months old. The magazine, citing an anonymous friend, said the boy was not adopted and did not identify the mother.

Russian troops detain 10 on kidnapping suspicions

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia -- Russian soldiers detained at least 10 people on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping of two Red Cross drivers, a Russian news agency said.

The drivers, Alexander Panov and Musa Satushiyev, were abducted Wednesday and freed Sunday by Russian troops in a special operation. No details of the action have been given.

The two were abducted Wednesday by masked gunmen, while driving to the neighboring Russian republic of Ingushetia after delivering humanitarian aid to the Chechen capital of Grozny.

Monday, Russian troops searched the village of Raduzhnoye, near Grozny, where the drivers were freed, detaining at least 10 people suspected of belonging to a gang responsible for the kidnapping, the Interfax news agency said.

U.N. investigates abuse of refugees in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal -- The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday it sent a team to Nepal to investigate the sexual assault of Bhutanese refugees by aid workers.

The agency has confirmed that at least 18 employees of local nongovernment agencies have assaulted refugees at camps for people who fled neighboring Bhutan.

"We are here to ensure that such cases do not happen again," said Abraham Abraham, the Nepal representative for U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

No one has been been charged or detained, but a U.N. investigation last month confirmed aid workers had either raped or attempted to rape girls as young as 7 years old.

The offenders are not employed by the U.N., but work for local nongovernment agencies that receive U.N. funds to run refugee camps in southeastern Nepal, Abraham said.

Pakistani surgeon released after detention

LAHORE, Pakistan -- A Pakistani orthopedic surgeon, held incommunicado for a month, was freed outside his home early Tuesday morning and said agents from the CIA and FBI had questioned him about chemical weapons and Osama bin Laden.

Dr. Amer Aziz was detained by Pakistani security agents on Oct. 21 on suspicion he had treated members of the Taliban during trips to Afghanistan.

After he was taken away, friends and family heard nothing more about him, and his detention sparked protests in Lahore and the capital, Islamabad. Supporters demanded authorities bring him to court, or at least say where he was being held.

Gunmen seize Russian fishing trawler near Japan

MOSCOW -- Gunmen seized a Russian fishing trawler in the Sea of Japan, Russian border police said Tuesday.

The Federal Border Guards said authorities in both Japan and South Korea had first reported the incident.

The Interfax news agency said there were about 20 crew members on the fishing vessel but that there was no known motive for the takeover.

In South Korea, a spokesman at the headquarters of the South Korean coast guard in Incheon, said he had no information on the report.

-- From wire reports

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