- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2003


Flu epidemic hits Europe

PARIS — Parts of Western Europe have been hit by an outbreak of influenza, with up to 2 million cases expected in France by the end of the week, health officials said yesterday.

The epidemic came amid warnings of a worldwide pandemic of flu, thanks to the ease of global transmission.

Britain also has seen a large number of flu cases — with as many as seven children thought to have died from the illness. In Spain, the Health Ministry said flu was affecting 195 out of 100,000 people — a toll 20 times higher than in previous years; and Belgium was not far off the threshold of 3 percent of the population at which the outbreak is classified as an epidemic, according to officials.


Bosnian Serb officer sentenced in massacre

THE HAGUE — The U.N. war-crimes tribunal sentenced a Bosnian Serb officer yesterday to 27 years in prison for a role in the 1995 massacre of more than 7,500 Muslim civilians in Srebrenica.

Momir Nikolic was the first Bosnian Serb officer to admit involvement in the Srebrenica massacre, when Serb forces overran the U.N.-declared “safe area” in eastern Bosnia, rounded up thousands of Muslim men and boys, and killed them. The orgy of bloodletting was Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.


Global warming hurts ski industry

TURIN — Picture-postcard villages nestling in Alpine valleys might be left bare of snow and robbed of the winter tourism that keeps them going as global warming strengthens its grip, research showed yesterday.

Global temperatures are expected to rise up to 3 degrees in 50 years, melting glaciers, raising the snow line up mountains and crippling the ski industry, according to the United Nations Environment Program study. Slopes higher than 3,900 feet are considered viable ski areas but, according to the report, in 30 to 50 years skiers will have to trek to altitudes of 4,900 to 5,900 feet.


Turkey recompenses Cypriot homeowner

STRASBOURG — Turkey has paid $1,350,00 in compensation to a Greek Cypriot whose property was taken after she fled her home during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus, the Council of Europe announced yesterday.

After having refused for several years to pay damages to Titina Loizidou because it considers the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus an independent state — it is recognized only by Turkey — Ankara agreed in June to pay the debt in October.

The award, which includes interest, was made under a ruling in 1998 by the European Court of Human Rights and came after four injunctions from the COE’s executive body, the Committee of Ministers.


Film producer charged with bribery

WARSAW — The Polish co-producer of the Oscar-winning films “The Pianist” and “Schindler’s List” went on trial yesterday on charges of influence peddling, a bribery scandal that has gripped the nation and embarrassed Prime Minister Leszek Miller.

Prosecutors say Lew Rywin, 58, solicited a bribe of $17.5 million from Agora SA, the publisher of the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, in exchange for lobbying the government for favorable media laws that would allow Agora to buy a nationwide broadcaster.

Prosecutors quote Mr. Rywin, who pleaded not guilty, as saying that he had been acting on behalf of the prime minister and have opened a separate investigation into why Mr. Miller had failed to notify authorities when he learned of the purported bribe attempt.

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