Fri, Jan 30, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Dominican Republic

Strike spurs violence

One person died, dozens were injured and 150 arrested as workers launched a two-day general strike here Wednesday to protest the peso's sharp devaluation, soaring inflation and persistent power outages, strike leaders said. "To [President] Hipolito Mejia and repressive groups being used by the government, we say that we will not be intimidated and we will maintain this 48-hour general strike across the entire national territory," strike leader Jaime Rodriguez said late Wednesday.

■ Serbia

Rebel leader convicted

A Serbian rebel leader from the early stages of the 90s wars in the former Yugoslavia was convicted of ethnic persecution on Wednesday after delivering an unprecedented apology to his "brother Croats." Milan Babic was a Croatian Serb dentist and the political leader of the Serb insurrection against Croatian rule in 1991. In a plea bargain with the prosecution that was accepted by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague on Wednesday, he was found guilty on one count of crimes against humanity. Four graver charges, including murder, were dropped. Before being found guilty, Babic delivered an unusual declaration of remorse and apologized to the Croatian victims of the ethnic cleansing he helped orchestrate.

■ United States

Saudi visas revoked

The US has revoked the diplomatic visas of seven Saudis as part of a tightening of visitor controls after the Sept. 11 attacks that involved mainly Saudi perpetrators, US officials said on Wednesday. None of the Saudis was suspected of any wrongdoing other than a visa irregularity. They worked as teachers at an Arab institute outside Washington and were not employed by the Saudi Embassy, meaning they were not entitled to diplomatic visas, the officials said. "They [the Saudi Embassy] got a diplomatic visa for people better suited for a work visa," one official, who asked not to be identified, said.

■ Haiti

Man dies in demonstration

One person died on Wednesday after police fired shots in the air and tear gas to break up the latest demonstration against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the Haitian capital. Lionel Victor, a 29-year-old law student, died from wounds suffered when he was hit in the back by a tear gas grenade fired at close range by a presidential palace guard, according to hospital sources. Fifteen students were arrested in the hospital where Victor died, after they set a roadblock ablaze in front of the hospital and stoned riot police.

■ Italy

Berlusconi admits surgery

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday admitted he had had plastic surgery that retouched his eyelids but denied he underwent a face-lift as reported by Italian media. "I only had my eyelids retouched slightly," Berlusconi said. "They wrote that seven doctors operated on me but there was only one," he said. "If you want I can give you his name," he said. A fresh-faced Silvio Berlusconi was back in the public eye last week after a mysterious month-long absence, first claiming he had a health makeover and remaining coy about newspaper speculation -- backed by before-and-after photos -- that it included a face-lift.

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