Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ SpainDoctors part glued lovers

Doctors in Madrid succeeded on Friday in separating a German prisoner from his fiancee after he stuck their hands together with car glue in a bid to avoid extradition, officials said. Uwe Dieter Krone, 39, applied a product normally used to glue car products together to his hand, and took advantage of a visit by his girlfriend to his jail to stick their hands together. The couple were stuck together for almost 48 hours in a Madrid hospital before doctors separated them by dissolving the glue. Krone was arrested in April on a German warrant for pimping charges.

■ Germany

Language reform dropped

Major newspapers and a leading newsweekly said they are abandoning a 6-year-old language reform and returning to the old way of writing, reviving a fierce debate about new rules meant to make German easier. The changes break up some notoriously long words, eliminate excessive commas, change spellings and cut back on the German letter for a double s, which resembles a capital B. Though taught in schools, they have remained highly disputed. Top newspaper company Axel Springer and the newsweekly Der Spiegel said Friday they will return to the old style immediately.

■ United Kingdom

Airport worker sentenced

A baggage handler at London's Heathrow airport who was at the center of a cocaine smuggling ring was jailed on Friday for 19 years. "What you did was extremely serious because you were prepared to commit the most appalling breach of trust," a judge said, sentencing Kamaljit Bassi in Guildford. Bassi, 40, was the "key inside man" in a plot to smuggle 9kg of drugs into Britain using two travellers on flights from South America who did not know what they were carrying. Cocaine disguised as chocolate bars had been placed in a woman's suitcase, while gift-wrapped packages containing drugs had been placed in a man's baggage. Bassi sneaked the items out of the bags before they reached their owners.

■ Netherlands

Toe-licking ban proposed

The Dutch Labor party wants to pass a law making unsolicited toe-licking an offense after police were unable to prosecute an assailant with a taste for female toes because he had committed no crime. A police spokesman said on Friday a man had been detained after women sunning themselves in Rotterdam said he snuck up on them and began to lick their toes. "Licking a stranger's toes is rather unusual but there is really nothing criminal about it," the spokesman said. Dutch press reports said the man, who is about 35, had been licking strangers' toes for about three years. Peter van Heemst, a Labor member of parliament, demanded the practice be prohibited.

■ United Kingdom

Iraq cleric seeks treatment

Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, traveled to Britain on Friday for treatment for a heart condition, a spokes-man said. Al-Sistani's main London representative, Sayyid Murtadha al-Kashmiri, didn't say which clinic would treat the cleric. Al-Sistani flew into Heath-row on a scheduled Middle East Airlines flight from Beirut, Lebanon, where he arrived earlier Friday on a chartered jet from Iraq. Al-Sistani, 73, carries great political weight in Iraq as the top religious figure among the country's Shiite Muslim majority.

■ Unites StatesMultiple slaying in Florida

The bodies of four men, two women and a dog were found Friday in a central Florida home and were the victims of violent deaths, the local sheriff's office said. "We've never seen anything like this," Volusia Countyson did not release the cause of the deaths in Deltona, Florida, about 40km north of Orlando, but said the killings did not appear to be random and the perpetrator probably knew the victims and was at large. The victims, ranging in age from their late teens to mid-30s, did not appear to be related but were co-workers at a fast-food restaurant. The bodies were discovered when one of the victims did not show up for work early Friday, a co-worker sent someone to the house and that man discovered the bodies, the Sheriff's Office said.

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