- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 21, 2003

BELGIUM

Eleven die in bus crash

HENSIES — A German bus swerved off a highway in Belgium, crashed against a concrete divider and caught fire yesterday, killing 11 persons and injuring dozens.

The Paris-bound bus crashed on the Brussels-to-Paris highway near the French border, police said.

Most of the victims were college-age students who were trapped inside as the bus was consumed by flames.

FINLAND

Santa theme park lays off elves

HELSINKI — Santa’s workshop may not be the joyous place it was in years past for the tens of thousands of tourists expected to visit northern Finland this winter.

Many of the elves who work at the SantaPark attraction near the Arctic Circle are spending the last few days before Christmas twiddling their thumbs. Santa laid them off because of rising costs.

LEBANON

Terrorist bombers get prison terms

BEIRUT — Lebanon sentenced 26 men to between three months and 20 years in prison yesterday for a string of bomb attacks on U.S. restaurants and a plot to assassinate the U.S. ambassador, judicial sources said.

Another man was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment with hard labor, while eight more were acquitted, the sources said. The Lebanese and Palestinian men had been arrested after a rash of small attacks on fast-food restaurants.

TURKEY

Bombing suspect says al Qaeda gave cash

ANKARA — A man charged with helping organize last month’s suicide bombings in Istanbul has confessed that al Qaeda gave militants $150,000 to carry out the attacks, local media reported yesterday.

Adnan Ersoz’s confession, which newspapers said had been leaked by police sources, would be the first time a suspect in the attacks has admitted that al Qaeda financed the bombings.

PHILIPPINES

200 feared dead in landslides

MANILA — At least 200 people were killed or are feared dead in a series of landslides that hit the central and southern Philippines over the weekend, civil defense officials said today.

The officials said 77 persons were confirmed to have died while another 123 were still missing and feared dead after heavy rains triggered flooding and landslides in the central island of Leyte and the southern island of Mindanao since late Friday.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council in its latest report said 61 bodies were dug out from under the rubble left by the landslides, which were triggered by heavy rains.

CHILE

Britons rescued from helicopter crash

PUNTA ARENAS — Two Britons were rescued and rushed to a hospital here after their helicopter crashed in a remote Antarctic site, officials in this far southern Chilean city said yesterday.

Helicopter pilot Jennifer Murray, 63, suffered a broken arm, while co-pilot Colin Bodill, 53, had chest injuries, according to information sent from the U.S. Antarctic base of Patriot Hill.


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