- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Banks likely to face apartheid lawsuits

ZURICH A U.S. lawyer who helped force Swiss banks into a $1.25 billion settlement for Nazi victims said yesterday he would file suit against top Swiss and U.S. banks for propping up South Africa's former apartheid regime.

The announcement by Edward Fagan, a maverick lawyer known for his controversial tactics.

Mr. Fagan said he represented some 80 plaintiffs in South Africa.

Mr. Fagan told reporters at a central hotel he was seeking as much as $50 billion in reparations in a class-action suit against UBS and Credit Suisse as well as U.S.-based Citicorp Inc., which owns Citibank.

Falun Gong trial opens in Hong Kong

HONG KONG Sixteen Falun Gong practitioners went on trial yesterday in a case that has raised concern Hong Kong is slowly squeezing the freedoms it promised to uphold when it reverted to Chinese rule five years ago.

The criminal case is the first in the former British colony against members of the spiritual sect, characterized by its slow-motion exercises and doctrines drawn from oriental philosophy.

The 16 defendants were arrested March 14 outside a government building where they were protesting.

More refugees seek asylum in Beijing

BEIJING A pair of North Korean women entered a South Korean diplomatic office yesterday, joining 18 other asylum-seekers already there, South Korean officials said.

The women, both about 30 years old, entered a visa office where Chinese guards last week dragged away a North Korean man, setting off a diplomatic furor with Seoul.

Pakistani police name suspect in bombing

KARACHI, Pakistan Police expanded their inquiry yesterday into last week's deadly car bombing outside the U.S. Consulate here, questioning a man already in custody who has provided investigators with information about a militant group trained in explosives.

The man, identified as Mohammed Umer, is a religious student with ties to the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Kohl overcomes slush-fund scandal

FRANKFURT, Germany Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl surfaced from the disgrace of a slush-fund scandal yesterday to bless his party's election campaign, showing how confident the resurgent conservatives are about returning to power in September.

Mr. Kohl's half-hour convention speech was a carefully scripted attempt by new party leaders to heal the wounds of the financing scandal, which hurt the party in a string of local elections since 2000 and tainted the former chancellor who reunited Germany 12 years ago.

U.S. troops under fire in Philippine jungle

U.S. troops working in the southern Philippines were shot at yesterday and returned fire, Pentagon officials said in the first combat American troops have seen since arriving in February to train anti-terrorism forces.

No American or Philippine troops were wounded, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. U.S. officials believe some of the attackers were wounded or killed, but that has not been confirmed.

Milosevic gets sick; trial put on hold

THE HAGUE Hearings in Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial have been postponed at least until tomorrow because the former Yugoslav president is ill, the U.N. tribunal said yesterday.

A court official said Mr. Milosevic had a slight fever.

Mr. Milosevic faces 66 counts, including genocide charges, for acts committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

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