- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

Madagascan ex-leader flees the country

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar Former Madagascan ruler Didier Ratsiraka fled to the Seychelles yesterday as troops loyal to President Marc Ravalomanana moved in, but the veteran leader's final destination was not clear.

A tired-looking Mr. Ratsiraka, who ruled the giant Indian Ocean island for 23 years, arrived with members of his family and entourage, ending a six-month struggle for power in the nation of 16 million.

The Ravalomanana government, which has been recognized by the United States and France, has said it will hold Mr. Ratsiraka accountable for killings, corruption and organizing militia groups.

Nazi 'Butcher of Genoa' gets 7-year sentence

HAMBURG, Germany A German court sentenced a former Nazi SS officer dubbed the "Butcher of Genoa" to seven years in prison yesterday for his role in the massacre of 59 Italian prisoners in World War II.

It was doubtful, however, whether the 93-year-old Friedrich Engel, who led the elite SS force in the Italian port, would actually spend time in jail after a two-month trial that may be one of the last ever for Nazi war crimes. President Judge Rolf Seedorf said he believed the ex-Nazi was too old to serve the sentence.

The judge pronounced Engel guilty of overseeing the killings in May 1944. The prisoners were led to an open grave in small groups and shot one by one in reprisal for an Italian partisan attack on German troops.

North Korea concedes losses in naval clash

SEOUL North Korea yesterday conceded for the first time that an unspecified number of its sailors died in a recent naval clash with South Korea that also killed four sailors from the South and wounded 19 others.

In the bloodiest incident of its kind in three years, two North Korean patrol boats exchanged fire with South Korean warships across an informal maritime border June 29. Pyongyang has never accepted the boundary and blamed South Korean forces yesterday for the attack.

The United States withdrew a proposal to resume security talks with the North after the incident and opposition leaders in Seoul have used the battle to criticize the government's efforts to improve relations with the North.

Four killed in clash with Turkish Islamists

ELAZIG, Turkey Three Turkish policemen and a suspected Islamist militant were killed when a gunfight erupted in the eastern city of Elazig yesterday.

Two officers died at the scene and a third in the hospital from gunshot wounds after police began a raid to apprehend Huseyin Sariac, a suspected member of the armed Hezbollah group. Mr. Sariac was also killed in the exchange, a security official said.

Authorities accuse Hezbollah of torturing and murdering scores of people in a plot to topple Turkey's secular order and replace it with Islamic law.

South African court orders AIDS treatment

JOHANNESBURG South Africa's highest court, after a yearlong legal battle, ordered the government yesterday to provide HIV-infected pregnant women with a key AIDS drug that could save their babies from the deadly virus.

AIDS activists hailed the ruling as a crucial victory against the government's often sluggish response to the devastating pandemic.

About 4.7 million South Africans one in nine are HIV-positive, the highest infection rate in the world.

Beijing cuts off BBC over Falun Gong news

BEIJING A British Broadcasting Corp. satellite transmission in China was severed after a news program aired "some content that is not allowed," an official with a state-owned broadcaster said yesterday.

The BBC said the cutoff came after a broadcast on the fifth anniversary of Hong Kong's July 1, 1997, handover from Britain to China a news item that included material on the Falun Gong, the spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government in 1999.

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