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World Scene

- - Thursday, October 7, 2010

CANADA

Officer to plead guilty to murder, rape

BELLEVILLE, Ontario | The lawyer for a military commander who flew Queen Elizabeth II and other dignitaries around Canada said Thursday his client will plead guilty to murder, sexual assaults and dozens of breaking and entering charges.

Col. Russell Williams was the commander of Canada's largest air force base until he was charged earlier this year with the murder of two women, the sexual assault of two others and 82 break-ins, during which he stole women's panties.

Michael Edelson, who is Col. Williams' lawyer, told a judge at a hearing Thursday that Col. Williams intends to plead guilty to all the charges at his next court appearance on Oct. 18. Col. Williams appeared at the hearing but did not speak.

The case shocked the country, hurt soldiers' morale and prompted fears that the commander of Canada's most high-profile military base and the man who once flew the country's prime ministers could have been a serial killer.

CHILE

Escape shaft to reach miners by Saturday

SAN JOSE MINE | Chile's mining minister said a shaft wide enough to provide an escape for 33 miners should reach the men by Saturday.

Laurence Golborne said that once the drill breaks through, it could take anywhere from three to 10 more days to pull the miners to safety.

The countdown can't really begin until they determine whether to insert a steel sleeve in the shaft. That could reduce the risk of something going wrong on the miners' way up, but lowering straight pipe through a curved section also is risky.

HUNGARY

Toxic red sludge reaches the Danube

KOLONTAR | Toxic red sludge from a Hungarian factory has reached Europe's second-longest river.

Downstream on the Danube, officials in Croatia, Serbia and Romania are testing water samples every few hours.

Hungary's Academy of Science said samples of the sludge entering the Danube indicate the concentration of heavy metal in it does "not come close" to levels considered dangerous to the environment. But it said the sludge itself is still dangerous because of its caustic quality.

IRAN

Gunmen kill 4 police in Iran's Kurdish area

TEHRAN | A pair of gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in Iran's Kurdish region Thursday, killing four officers and a bystander, an Iranian news agency reported.

The attack occurred in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran's Kurdistan province about 310 miles west of Tehran, where authorities have been battling a separatist Kurdish movement for years.

The two gunmen were members of "counterrevolutionary groups," Ebrahim Kazeminejad, the provincial deputy police chief told the semiofficial Mehr news agency. Five other policemen and four civilians were wounded in the attack, one of them seriously.

ZIMBABWE

Premier rips Mugabe over 'betrayal'

HARARE | Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Thursday voiced his "disgust" with President Robert Mugabe's unilateral decision-making in their power-sharing government, calling it a "betrayal."

Mr. Tsvangirai said that events over the past few months have left him "disappointed in Mr. Mugabe, and his betrayal of the confidence that I and many Zimbabweans have personally invested in him."

The prime minister condemned Mr. Mugabe for autocratically appointing officials to the government that the two longtime rivals formed in February 2009 in the aftermath of violent and disputed elections.

Mr. Tsvangirai said his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has resolved not to recognize the appointment of the reserve bank governor, the attorney general, five judges appointed in May, six ambassadors named in July and the police service commission.

From wire dispatches and staff reports