- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2002

Air-traffic controller concedes error in crash
ZURICH The Swiss air-traffic controller on duty when 71 persons died in a midair crash said yesterday that network errors contributed to the disaster and he mourned Russian children being buried in an emotional ceremony.
"On the night of the accident I was part of a network of people, computers, surveillance and communications equipment, and regulations," the unidentified Skyguide controller said in a statement sent to the Swiss news agency SDA.
"The tragic accident shows that errors cropped up in this network. As an air traffic controller, it is my duty and responsibility to prevent such accidents," he said.
He promised full cooperation with investigators probing the July 1 crash near the Swiss-German border in which a Russian passenger jet carrying 52 schoolchildren to a holiday in Spain and a DHL cargo plane collided and burst into flames.

France honors New York firemen
PARIS France paid tribute yesterday to the 343 New York firefighters who died on September 11 following attacks on the World Trade Center, signing an agreement of cooperation in front of victims' relatives.
At a ceremony attended by New York Fire Department Chief Daniel Nigro and 75 firefighters and family members, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy expressed admiration for the "heroes" who participated in the rescue operation.
A "sister" agreement pledging mutual assistance between the New York and Paris fire departments was signed.
The firefighters have been invited by French President Jacques Chirac to a garden party at the presidential Elysee Palace marking today's Bastille Day ceremonies.

Judge freezes Basque accounts
MADRID A Spanish judge ordered a freeze on the bank accounts of the radical Basque nationalist party Batasuna and on assets of scores of social clubs and bars associated with the group.
High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon slapped a $23.74 million fine on Batasuna earlier this month for harm to property and persons in violent street demonstrations by its youth branch Segi.
On Friday, the judge imposed an embargo on 109 bank accounts linked to Batasuna and the goods of 75 collectively run taverns and social clubs associated with the Basque nationalist group, local media said.
Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's government claims the party is the political wing of armed separatist group ETA, which has killed some 800 people since 1968 in a bloody campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.
Batasuna says it is an independent organization, though it shares ETA's aim of independence.

Weekly notes
A Belgian woman packed her Kurdish lover into her suitcase in an attempt to smuggle him into Italy. But customs officials at the southern port of Brindisi stopped Cindy Q., 23, on Friday after seeing her struggling with her suitcase as she disembarked from a ferry from Greece. When they opened the bag, they were amazed to see 26-year-old Ismail Kilic stuffed inside. Mr. Kilic was put on the next ferry back to Greece, and the Belgian woman was arrested and faces charges of organizing illegal immigration.


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