- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 22, 2003

BRITAIN

Chemical firm wary after big toxin order

LONDON — Police were alerted to a potential terrorist plot after a London-based group tried to buy half a ton of toxic chemicals from a biosciences company, a British newspaper reported yesterday.

The Financial Times said Amersham Biosciences informed authorities when it received an order for 1,100 pounds of saponin — a chemical that enhances the transmission of poisons through skin — in the fall of 2002.

ITALY

Berlusconi friend jailed for corruption

MILAN — An Italian court yesterday sentenced a friend of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to five years in jail for corruption but cleared him of a key accusation that has also been leveled against the prime minister.

Cesare Previti, a former defense minister who had been on trial for three years, was convicted on charges of paying a $434,000 bribe to a Rome judge in 1991.

But he was acquitted on another charge related to the privatization of food company SME in the 1980s.

LITHUANIA

Protesters demand president leave office

VILNIUS — Thousands of people yesterday called for the resignation of Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas, who is embroiled in a scandal over purported links between his office and organized crime, while his supporters held a counterdemonstration.

Amid tight security, about 3,000 people, most of them critics of Mr. Paksas, gathered outside the presidential offices and residence in central Vilnius.

An iron fence and police wearing helmets and carrying shields separated Mr. Paksas’ supporters from those demanding that he resign.

GERMANY

Muslims protest Israeli occupation

BERLIN — Several hundred Muslims from all over Germany marched through the streets of Berlin yesterday to denounce Israeli occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Police estimated about 1,000 people took part in the demonstration, and said there were no incidents.

The demonstration marked “Jerusalem Day,” decreed by the late Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

SWEDEN

Activists inject meat with rat poison

VISBY — A second suspected case of meat being injected with rat poison has been detected in a Swedish supermarket, the daily Aftonbladet reported yesterday.

It said the management of a supermarket in the Obs chain in Visby, the main town on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, destroyed 180 pounds of meat off the shelves after receiving an anonymous tip-off.

Police said earlier this week that they were investigating reports that animal rights activists had injected meat with rat poison.


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