- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2005

FRANCE

Alpine tunnel fire under control

MODANE — A fire that killed two persons and burned several vehicles in the Frejus tunnel linking France and Italy through the Alps was under control early today, and firefighters from the two sides had joined up, a local official on the scene said.

Sylvaine Astic, assistant prefect for Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, said investigations had been carried out after the fire and the death toll was expected to remain at two while 11 civilians and six firemen had suffered from smoke inhalation.

On the Italian side, five persons had been hospitalized but their condition was not serious, medical sources said.

The fire, which started in a truck carrying tires, revived memories of a 1999 fire in the nearby Mont Blanc tunnel that killed 39 persons.

EGYPT

New coalition opposes Mubarak

CAIRO — A former Egyptian prime minister, judges and intellectuals from different ideological backgrounds announced yesterday that they had formed a new movement aimed at ending President Hosni Mubarak’s lengthy rule.

The main goal of the National Coalition for Democratic Transformation was “fighting dictatorship and the corruption of the regime,” former Prime Minister Aziz Sedki said.

Mr. Mubarak and his supporters, including President Bush, say the longtime ruler is already moving the country toward democratic reform, namely by opening presidential elections to more than one candidate.

But Mr. Sedki described the recent referendum on amending the constitution that would allow the multiparty elections to take place as “not a miracle, but a farce and a fraud.”

ARUBA

3 men provide clue to missing American

ORANJESTAD — Three men who said they dropped off an Alabama teenager at her hotel have emerged as “the most important lead” in the honor student’s disappearance on this Dutch Caribbean island, police said yesterday.

Police, Dutch troops and hundreds of volunteers scouring coastline and beaches for six days have found no trace of Natalee Holloway, 18.

Deputy Police Chief Gerold Dompig declined to call the men suspects. Miss Holloway was on a five-day excursion with 124 seniors and several chaperones from Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham, Ala.

LEBANON

Slain journalist mourned by many

BEIRUT — Throwing rose petals and waving red, white and green Lebanese flags, hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Beirut yesterday for the funeral procession of an anti-Syrian journalist amid calls for an international investigation into his death.

Samir Kassir, a 45-year-old newspaper columnist, was killed Thursday by a bomb that exploded under his car in the Christian Beirut neighborhood of Ashrafieh.

INDONESIA

Christian massacre suspects arrested

POSO — Indonesian police said yesterday they have arrested 17 suspects in last weekend’s bombings in a Christian town that killed 20 persons.

None of the 17 — including the head of a local prison, three prisoners and an Islamic junior high school master — have been formally charged.

Central Sulawesi was the scene of a bloody war between Christians and Muslims in 2001-2002 that killed about 1,000 people from both communities.


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