- The Washington Times - Friday, September 7, 2007

NICARAGUA

Felix death toll rises to 65

PUERTO CABEZAS — The death toll from Hurricane Felix rose to 65 yesterday with the discovery of the bodies of 25 fishermen in the waters along Honduras’ Mosquito Coast, Nicaraguan and Honduran officials said.

The dead were thought to be from a group of 109 Nicaraguan Mosquito Indians who sought refuge in canoes when Felix roared over them.

At least 52 found something to hang onto, fighting for hours to stay alive as huge waves and lightning crashed around them. At least 32 remain missing.



PAKISTAN

Pressure mounts on Musharraf

ISLAMABAD — Lawyers boycotted courts across Pakistan yesterday in a renewed campaign to force President Pervez Musharraf to step down, as pressure mounted ahead of the planned return of the civilian leader he ousted in a coup eight years ago.

The party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to trample any government attempt to block supporters from greeting him when he returns to Pakistan, which is expected Monday. In a boost for their cause, a ruling party lawmaker, Akhtar Kanju, defected to their side.

Yesterday, he announced that he was joining Mr. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party because he opposed what he said were Gen. Musharraf’s plans to seek re-election while army chief.

EGYPT

Nour-case witness kills self in jail

CAIRO — One of the key witnesses and co-defendants in the trial of Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour was found hanged in his prison cell in Cairo yesterday, security sources said.

Ayman Ismail Hassan, who during Mr. Nour’s trial retracted his testimony against the politician, hanged himself with a sheet in the prison where he was serving a five-year sentence on a charge of forging documents, they said.

During the trial, Mr. Hassan said he had made up his testimony against Mr. Nour because state security police threatened members of his family. The court disregarded his retraction and went on to sentence both Mr. Nour and Mr. Hassan to five years in prison.

RUSSIA

Japanese satellite crashes on launch

MOSCOW — An unmanned Russian rocket carrying a Japanese communications satellite malfunctioned after liftoff yesterday, sending parts crashing in an uninhabited part of Kazakhstan and triggering concerns about environmental damage.

The Proton-M rocket failed to put the JCSAT-11 satellite into orbit because of a problem during operation of the second stage, the U.S.-based American-Russian joint venture International Launch Services said.

The rocket failed 139 seconds after its launch from the Russian-rented Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan. Parts of the rocket fell in an uninhabited area about 30 miles southwest of the central Kazakh town of Zhezkazgan.

SOUTH KOREA

Hyundai chairman spared jail term

SEOUL — An appeals court suspended a three-year prison sentence for Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo yesterday, saying the tycoon is too important to South Korea’s economy to go to jail for embezzlement.

A three-judge panel at the Seoul High Court suspended the sentence for five years, meaning that the 69-year-old head of the nation’s biggest automaker will avoid prison as long as he keeps a clean record during that period.

A lower court had sentenced Chung in February to three years for embezzling more than $100 million from the company to set up a slush fund.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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