- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2003

NIGERIA
Oil workers take foreigners hostage
LAGOS Striking Nigerian oil workers have taken about 100 foreign workers hostage on several offshore oil installations, company officials and union workers said yesterday. The hostages include 21 Americans.
The strikers have been holding 97 foreign workers aboard four offshore drilling rigs owned by Houston-based Transocean since April 19. The events occurred in a remote area off the West African nation's coast.
The rigs were drilling wells run by oil multinationals Royal Dutch Shell and TotalFinaElf.

LIBYA
Compensation offered for Lockerbie bombing
TRIPOLI Libya announced yesterday that it will pay $10 million to families of each of the 270 victims of the 1988 bombing of a U.S. jumbo jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie after accepting civil responsibility for the blast.
The payment, totaling $2.7 billion, would be made in three stages conditional on U.N. and U.S. sanctions against Libya being lifted.

INDIA
Soldiers and rebels killed in gunbattle
SRINAGAR Eight soldiers and 13 Muslim rebels were killed in a gunbattle in Indian Kashmir yesterday as violence intensified after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan discussed ways to improve relations.
Earlier yesterday, soldiers gunned down a person suspected of being a militant who was part of a group trying to enter an Indian army camp in Kupwara district. The person was later identified as a member of the banned Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group, officials said.
Elsewhere, soldiers and police fatally shot three rebels in separate gunbattles across the region.

ITALY
Placido Domingo sings papal peace prayer
ROME Spanish tenor Placido Domingo was given a standing ovation and asked for an encore after singing a prayer for peace written by Pope John Paul II after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Catholic, Muslim and Jewish clerics acclaimed Mr. Domingo, who on Monday gave a single performance of the concert in Ancona, in northern Italy.
The pope wrote the "Song for Peace" as a message for a world day of prayer in January 2002.

NETHERLANDS
Legal suicide deaths fall to all-time low
THE HAGUE The euthanasia-control commissions in the Netherlands, the first country to have legalized the practice, yesterday reported an all-time low in the number of euthanasia cases last year, counting 1,882.
In 2001, the commissions recorded 2,054 cases of euthanasia, and 2,123 the year before.
On April 1 of last year, euthanasia became legal in the Netherlands.

TURKEY
Prosecutor seeks to outlaw Kurdish party
ANKARA Turkey's chief prosecutor asked the constitutional court yesterday to outlaw the country's main pro-Kurdish party, accusing it of links to separatist Kurdish rebels.
The Democratic People's Party already risks a ban in a case at the constitutional court for falsifying official documents to give it the right to run in last year's general election.
Kurdish regions of Turkey have been relatively quiet since 1999, when rebels said they were laying down their arms to seek a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.

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