- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2002

Remarks withdrawn about Jewish leader

VIENNA, Austria Austrian provincial Gov. Joerg Haider has apologized for making derogatory comments about the leader of Vienna's Jewish community and has withdrawn the remarks, in a settlement made public yesterday.

The out-of-court settlement ends legal proceedings against Mr. Haider, the former leader of the Freedom Party, on 14 counts linked to supposed anti-Semitism.

Jewish community leader Ariel Muzicant went to court after Mr. Haider ridiculed him at a Freedom Party gathering nearly a year ago.

In a mocking reference to Mr. Muzicant's first name, which is also that of a popular detergent, Mr. Haider said: "I don't understand how someone called Ariel can have so much dirt on his hands."

In a statement signed by Mr. Haider and made available yesterday to the Associated Press by Mr. Muzicant's office, Mr. Haider said he "withdraws" his comments with "an expression of regret and apology."


India, Pakistan exchange fire across Kashmir line

NEW DELHI Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged heavy fire yesterday across a cease-fire line in the disputed region of Kashmir, which is at the center of a tense military standoff between the nuclear rivals.

In the Kashmir firing, a 30-year-old woman was hit by shrapnel from an Indian mortar bomb in a village in the southern Rawalakot district of Pakistani-ruled Kashmir and died on the way to a hospital, a local official said, accusing Indian soldiers of targeting civilians.

In Indian-ruled Kashmir, suspected militants set off a bomb in a market in the town of Reasi, killing three laborers and wounding six persons. In gunbattles across the Himalayan territory, eight persons died, including a 15-year-old girl.

Indian and Pakistani forces have been on high alert on the border since a Dec. 13 suicide attack on the Indian Parliament that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based Muslim rebels fighting its rule in Kashmir.


Chad sets elections for parliament in April

NDJAMENA, Chad Chad will hold legislative elections April 21, according to a decree signed yesterday by President Idriss Deby.

The last such polls were held in two rounds in January and February 1997, and were won by Mr. Deby's Patriotic Salvation Movement.

Opposition parties that protested conditions surrounding Mr. Deby's re-election in a presidential vote in May are demanding assurances that the legislative elections will be free and fair.


Colombia editor shot, in critical condition

BOGOTA, Colombia A gunman shot the deputy editor of a daily newspaper in western Colombia, leaving him in critical condition, a colleague said. A suspect was later arrested.

Orlando Sierra was shot Wednesday as he walked to the offices of La Patria newspaper in Manizales after having lunch, said Alvaro Segura, another editor.

Ten journalists were killed in Colombia in 2001, the highest toll for a single country, according to the World Association of Newspapers, a media watchdog group.


Satanist pair receive long prison terms

BOCHUM, Germany A couple who killed a friend by stabbing him 66 times in a Satanic ritual were given long prison sentences yesterday in a case that has fascinated Germany with bizarre details of blood sucking and devil worship.

Daniel Ruda, a 26-year-old former car-parts salesman, and his wife, Manuela, 23, had confessed to murdering the man in July in their apartment surrounded by human skulls, cemetery lights, scalpels and incense because the devil ordered them to do so.

A judge in the western German town of Bochum found the local pair guilty of murder and sentenced Daniel to 15 years in jail and Manuela to 13 years, but said the likelihood they may kill again meant they might never be released.

The judge ordered that they also receive treatment in a secure psychiatric hospital for personality disorders for an unlimited period that would count toward their prison terms.


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