- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2002

German, Irish robbers make first euro hauls

BERLIN Masked robbers made off with tens of thousands of euros from a bank yesterday, police said, in what was believed to be Germany's first euro robbery of 2002. The four-member gang struck at Habkirchen in the southwestern Saarland region.

Shortly before the turn-of-the-year money change, robbers made off with more than 200,000 euros from another bank in northern Schleswig-Holstein, police said.

In Ireland, police were searching yesterday for those responsible for the country's first euro bank raids.

About 2,000 euros ($1,800) was stolen from a bank in Borrisokane in central Ireland and an undisclosed amount of euros from a bank in southwest Ireland.


Explosion feared as tanker runs aground

PLYMOUTH, England Around 150 people were evacuated from their homes yesterday because authorities feared an explosion after a Cypriot tanker foundered on rocks off the coast of Cornwall in southwest England.

An oil slick about 0.6-mile long polluted waters around the stricken vessel, but authorities are not fearing a major pollution incident because its main tanks are empty.

The tanker, Willy, ran aground in Cawsands Bay off Plymouth at about 10:45 pm Tuesday shortly after unloading its cargo in the port. Its crew of 12 abandoned the vessel safely.

The ship's tanks, although emptied of oil, still contain petroleum vapor, so an explosion is still a risk.


2 children, 7 rebels killed in Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal Two children and seven Maoist rebels were among 10 persons killed in separate incidents in this Himalayan kingdom, officials said.

The Home Ministry said the two children, ages 11 and 9, were killed and five other children wounded when Maoist rebels exploded a bomb near a water pipe in the Kalikot district of west Nepal yesterday.

One person was killed by the guerrillas in the district of Gorkha, also in west Nepal, the ministry said.

Elsewhere, soldiers gunned down seven rebels as authorities stepped up security in the capital, Katmandu, ahead of a South Asian summit that starts this week, the Defense Ministry said.


Blizzards paralyze Central Europe

WARSAW The Slovak president was among thousands who fell victim to snow chaos yesterday as the worst blizzards in years paralyzed much of Central Europe, blocking roads and railways and cutting off towns and power supplies.

Snowdrifts piled up on major roads in southern Poland, stranding drivers heading north after New Year celebrations in mountain resorts such as Zakopane, where recent avalanches killed at least five persons.

In Slovakia, President Rudolf Schuster was slightly hurt when cars in his motorcade collided with crashed cars during a snowstorm in the west of the country.

In the Czech Republic, authorities declared a third of the country a disaster zone as army teams were sent to help pull out stranded vehicles.


Powerful quake hits South Pacific isle

PORT VILA, Vanuatu A powerful earthquake sent frightened residents dashing from their homes in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu today as it set off landslides and damaged buildings, officials said.

An unknown number of people were hospitalized with injuries from falling debris, but there were no immediate reports of deaths, officials said.

The National Disaster Management Office said many roads on the main island of Efate were damaged in the 7.3-magnitude quake.

Vanuatu is a nation of about 200,000 people located on a chain of 80 islands, 1,400 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia.


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