- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 2, 2002

Corsican nationalist leaves French prison
PARIS The former leader of Corsica's underground separatist movement has been released from prison in mainland France, and reports said he was set to play a public role in the unruly island's nationalist movement.
Charles Pieri, former leader of the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC), in prison since September 1998 when he was arrested after a cache of weapons including assault rifles and explosives was found at his home, was freed on Thursday.
Some Corsican nationalists accused him of ordering the assassination of fellow separatists Jean-Michel Rossi, who was killed in 2000, and Francois Santoni, killed in 2001. These accusations were never proven.
Pieri's release comes after the failure of a plan by France's last government to grant limited autonomy to Corsica. That was followed by the FLNC ending a truce and resuming bombing of property owned by the French state or mainlanders.

Princess Soraya's jewels auctioned off
PARIS Buyers in fur and high heels crowded into Paris's Drouot-Montaigne auction house on Thursday for the sale of the jewels of Princess Soraya, the second wife of the shah of Iran.
They jostled to catch a glimpse of the princess's collection of precious gems, described by the auctioneer as "inanimate witnesses to her grace, elegance and refinement." The shah married Princess Soraya, a 19-year-old green-eyed beauty, in 1951, but he divorced her seven years later because she was unable to bear him an heir.
"A life of legend was beginning, but fate decided otherwise," the auctioneer said. A diamond ring thought to be Princess Soraya's engagement ring was offered for $282,000, and applause broke out when it finally sold for $846,000.

Greece swears off its cigarette habit
ATHENS The old joke had it that the best way to find a gathering of Greeks was to listen for the noise and watch for the cloud of cigarette smoke. The Health Ministry wants to make the old saw passe, at least so far as the cigarette smoke goes.
European Union figures show 44.9 percent of Greeks older than 15 smoke daily, the largest percentage among member countries and among the highest in the world. "It is about time laws are actually upheld in this country. Things have gotten out of hand," Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, a smoker, said last week.
He announced restrictions that would ban on outdoor tobacco advertising beginning in 2003. In October, no-smoking sections must be available in restaurants, coffee bars and many other public places. Lighting up in taxis also will be outlawed.

Weekly notes
German writer Bernhard Schlink, whose work deals with the aftermath of the Nazi era in German society, received France's Legion d'Honneur medal at a ceremony Thursday at the French Embassy in Berlin. Ambassador Claude Martin said Mr. Schlink's talent and the philosophical dimension of his thought made him one of the best contemporary German writers. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski will visit Moscow on Thursday on his way back from a trip to South Korea, officials said. A presidential spokesman said Mr. Kwasniewski would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Polish leader leaves today for Seoul, the South Korean capital. Mr. Putin visited Poland in January, the first visit by a Russian president in nine years after tension following the former Warsaw Pact member's entry into NATO in 1999.

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