- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 23, 2003


Berlusconi, Schroeder meet to end rift

VERONA — After shying away from an opera rendezvous, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder yesterday for the first time since his Nazi jibe caused a diplomatic furor.

Italy’s billionaire businessman-turned-politician provoked an uproar at the start of July when he likened a German lawmaker to a Nazi concentration camp guard, casting a shadow over Italy’s six-month presidency of the European Union.

But yesterday he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mr. Schroeder in the medieval Italian city of Verona, and both played down the summer spat and Mr. Berlusconi’s no-show at the opera on Friday.


Heat wave toll called unreliable

PARIS — The government and the Red Cross cast doubt yesterday on a recent staggering estimate that France’s heat wave caused the deaths of about 10,000 people.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin expressed anger that officials have been unable to pinpoint the number of victims from the two weeks of scorching temperatures this month, which reached 104 F.

French Red Cross President Marc Gentilini said he, too, was skeptical that all the deaths during the heat wave were directly related to the heat.


Wreckage of helicopter found; 20 dead

VLADIVOSTOK — Emergency officials discovered the wreckage yesterday of a helicopter that crashed earlier this week in the Russian Far East. All 20 persons aboard were killed.

The helicopter was found about 70 miles southeast of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Among the dead were Igor Farkhutdinov, governor of the oil-rich Sakhalin region, and top regional officials.


Six killed in mid-air collision

MUNICH — Six persons were killed yesterday in a collision between two small aircraft over Bavaria, German police said.

A Cessna plane with a pilot and four passengers and a one-man glider were involved in the collision. The wreckage landed outside the town of Lechsend, north of Munich.

Weekly notes …

A high-spending British headmistress who used school money on trips, gifts and luxury goods failed to appear in court Friday for sentencing but was later found at home. Prosecutors said Colleen McCabe, a former nun, stole up to $790,000 to pay for expensive restaurant meals, tickets to West End musicals, Gucci jewelry and an $11,000 shoe collection. They said the pilfering from the $4.8 million annual budget of the state-funded St. John Rigby College in south London left it unable to pay janitors. … A prize ram has sold at an auction in Scotland for a British record price of $200,000. The 5-month-old Texel was snapped up at a sale in Lanark, south of Glasgow, Thursday by a consortium from northern Scotland who plan to use the expensive specimen for breeding.

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