- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Gadhafi to buy up Caribbean bananas

LONDON — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has offered to buy up the banana crops of three Caribbean nations to help them overcome competition from Central America, the London Times reported yesterday.

The newspaper said the offer was made last week during a visit to Tripoli by the leaders of the former British colonies of St. Vincent, Grenada and Dominica after the European Union agreed to U.S. demands to accept cheaper imports from Latin America.

The newspaper said Col. Gadhafi's offer to buy the Caribbean bananas at a premium to world prices would embarrass the United States and Britain by giving him political influence in Washington's back yard. A Libyan delegation is due in the Caribbean this month to finalize the $21 million deal, the paper added.

Swiss nurse killed 27 'out of compassion'

LUCERNE, Switzerland — Claiming he acted out of compassion, a 32-year-old nurse has confessed to killing 27 elderly and ailing patients over a six-year period, authorities said yesterday.

The nurse, identified by Swiss media as Roger Andermatt, was arrested at the end of June after a suspicious death in a nursing home. He subsequently admitted killing nine patients there.

Suspecting the toll might be higher, police opened a full investigation into mysterious deaths in other homes where Andermatt worked. Under interrogation, Andermatt confessed to 18 other killings, including 12 in a home for invalids in the central Swiss town of Sarnen, investigating magistrate Orvo Nieminen told a news conference here.

22 Somalians killed as SAM-3 explodes

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 22 persons were killed and 27 others were wounded yesterday when an anti-aircraft missile accidentally exploded at an abandoned military garrison in south Mogadishu, witnesses and officials said.

Most of those killed were members of families living around the abandoned military compound, including children.

"The explosion was caused by a Soviet-made SAM-3 missile, which was left behind there by the armed forces" of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre when he was toppled in January 1991, Soviet-trained former Somali air defense Col. Ali Alasow Mohamed told Agence France-Presse.

One witness said the explosion was triggered by a man called Said Moalin Farah, who was trying to extract copper metal from the weapon. He was among those killed, the witness added.

Five are sentenced in China rail blast

BEIJING — A court in Nandan, southern Guangxi province, has sentenced two persons to death, with a two-year suspension, and another three to prison terms for blowing up a railroad line, state media report.

The two-year suspension would allow the death sentence to be commuted to a prison term for good behavior. The five were convicted of setting off a bomb on the tracks at Nandan as a train from Shanghai to Chengdu was passing last Nov. 16 year, the Procuratorial Daily said.

The blast started a fire as it blew up the oil tank on the train and the line was shut down for eight hours. No injuries were reported but the economic loss was 700,000 yuan ($84,300), the paper said.

Ancient figurines stolen from tomb

ATHENS — Precious artifacts from the tomb of ancient Macedonian Queen Euridice, grandmother of Alexander the Great, have been stolen, Greek authorities said yesterday.

But there were no signs of a break-in at the archaeological site, which is fenced and guarded around the clock, and the stolen goods would be nearly impossible to sell, they added.

Marble figurines hacked off Euridice's ornate throne are too well documented to put on the market, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters.

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