- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003


Milosevic charged in rival's death

BELGRADE Serbian police have filed charges against former President Slobodan Milosevic and several of his allies in the abduction and killing of a Serbian ex-president, officials said yesterday.

Police investigating the March 12 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic found the remains of former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic last month. Mr. Stambolic was once Mr. Milosevic's mentor, but the two politicians later became bitter rivals.

Mr. Stambolic was abducted while jogging in Belgrade in August 2000, just weeks before a presidential election in which he was preparing to challenge Mr. Milosevic.

Mr. Milosevic is now facing trial on genocide charges at the U.N. war-crimes tribunal in The Hague.


Death penalty sought for doomsday guru

TOKYO Prosecutors demanded a death sentence yesterday for the doomsday-sect guru accused of masterminding a nerve-gas attack on a Tokyo subway, calling him "the most vicious criminal in this country's history."

The March 20, 1995, attack killed 12 persons and sickened thousands. Shoko Asahara, a nearly blind self-styled messiah who once claimed more than 10,000 followers in the Aum Shinri Kyo sect, is charged with ordering the rush-hour attack.

The seven-year trial long even by the standards of Japan's legal system has tested the country's patience.


Failed asylum seekers to be sent back

COPENHAGEN Denmark's parliament voted yesterday to tighten its legislation on refugees, forcing asylum seekers whose requests have been rejected to return to their country of origin.

As of May 1, police will be authorized to force refugees whose asylum requests have been rejected to sign the necessary documents for their repatriation, Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Bertel Haarder said.

According to recent police statistics, some 2,751 refugees are currently refusing to leave Denmark voluntarily, even though their asylum requests have been denied.


Amnesty condemns 'hypocrisy' on rights

BRUSSELS The European Union is guilty of "hypocrisy" for lecturing the rest of the world on human rights while doing nothing to prevent abuses within its own borders, Amnesty International said yesterday.

There is no EU-wide safeguard in place to protect Europeans against abuses by their national authorities, Dick Oosting, head of Amnesty's EU office, told a European Parliament hearing.

According to Amnesty, there is "a common and disturbing pattern of abuse by law-enforcement officials in EU countries, including torture, ill-treatment and excessive use of force, which is regularly allowed to go unpunished."


Panel finishes draft of new constitution

KABUL Afghanistan's constitution commission yesterday finished drafting the country's new constitution, which will pave the way for presidential elections next year, the official Bakhtar news agency said.

Vice President Nematullah Shahrani, who headed the constitution commission, will chair a new commission to examine the draft. It has to be presented to a loya jirga, a traditional tribal assembly, in October for its approval.

Then, preparations can get under way for nationwide elections that have to be held by June 2004 under the terms of the Bonn agreement in 2001 after the fall of the Taliban regime.


Drought threatens more than 12 million

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia's worst drought in nearly two decades is hitting even harder than initial estimates showed, the government said yesterday, with 1 million more people now facing severe food shortages.

Many in the country of 67 million people, ravaged by the great famine of 1984 in which 1 million people died, now line up for food aid, which aid workers say is fast running out. A senior Ethiopian relief official said 12.6 million people now require emergency food aid.

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