- - Tuesday, October 5, 2010

FRANCE

Ex-trader must pay $6.7 billion for fraud

PARIS | Ex-trader Jerome Kerviel was convicted on all counts Tuesday in history’s biggest rogue trading scandal, sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay his former employer $6.7 billion in damages.

The ruling marked a huge victory for Societe Generale SA, one of France’s most blue-blooded banks, which has worked to clean up its image and impose tougher risk controls since the scandal broke in 2008.

The 33-year-old former futures index trader was found guilty of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized computer use for covering up bets between late 2007 and early 2008.

SWEDEN

Nobel physics prize for ultrathin carbon

STOCKHOLM | Two Russian-born scientists shared the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for “groundbreaking experiments” with the thinnest, strongest material known to mankind — a carbon vital for the creation of faster computers and transparent touch screens.

University of Manchester professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov used Scotch tape to isolate graphene, a form of carbon only one atom thick but more than 100 times stronger than steel, and showed it has exceptional properties, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

Experiments with graphene could lead to the development of superstrong materials with which to make satellites, airplanes and cars.

CHINA

Gates, counterpart set to meet soon

The Pentagon on Tuesday said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates likely will meet his Chinese counterpart next week at a conference in Vietnam because Beijing resumed military ties with Washington.

In a sign military-to-military relations are back on track, officials are working out details for a meeting between Mr. Gates and Gen. Liang Guanglie, China’s defense minister, on the sidelines of an ASEAN conference in Hanoi.

In addition to the possible meeting in Hanoi, U.S. and Chinese officials are also hopeful that Mr. Gates will visit Beijing in coming months, possibly early next year, Pentagon officials said. The Chinese have already issued an invitation.

SPAIN

Venezuela accused of training rebels

MADRID | Madrid vowed Tuesday to press Caracas over the case of suspected ETA fighters who say they received weapons training in Venezuela.

“We are going to demand this cooperation” with Caracas and “we are going to work so that this cooperation produces concrete action in compliance with judicial rulings,” said Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega.

Spanish court documents released Monday showed that two suspected members of the Basque separatist movement ETA arrested in Spain last week have said they received weapons training in Venezuela.

CONGO

U.N. says leader of mass rapes arrested

KINSHASA | A Democratic Republic of the Congo militia chief was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of leading raids on villages in the country’s east where 500 people were raped in July and August, the United Nations said.

Col. Mayele, commander of a tribal Mai-Mai militia, was arrested in a military operation carried out by the U.N. Mission for the Stabilization of the DR Congo and the Congolese military, a U.N. spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

HUNGARY

Three killed in sludge flood

DEVECSER | At least three people have died in flooding caused by the rupture of a red sludge reservoir at an alumina plant in western Hungary, rescue services said Tuesday. Six people were missing and 120 injured.

The sludge, a waste product in aluminum production, contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested. Many of the injured sustained burns as the sludge seeped through their clothes. Two of the injured were in life-threatening condition. A woman, a man and a 3-year-old were killed in the flooding.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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