■ FranceMurder trial finally starts
One of France's most sinister multiple murder mysteries was to finally come to court yesterday, with a 70 year-old former bus-driver tried for the deaths of seven mentally-disabled young women who went missing more than 25 years ago. Suspicions that Emile Louis was linked to the case known as the "Disappeared of the Yonne" were first raised in the early 1980s, but he was able to avoid investigation until just four years ago when he confessed under questioning and led police to two shallow graves. The seven, aged between 15 and 25, were all in the care of the social services in the town of Auxerre when they disappeared between 1975 and 1979.
Several hurt in blast
Several people were injured in an explosion in a parking lot in Makhatchkala, capital of the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, local officials told the Interfax news agency. Dagestan borders the war-torn separatist republic of Chechnya. Two people who were seriously injured were taken to hospital, the head of the emergency services at the Dagestan medical center, Kazanfar Kurbanov, told Interfax. He said there several other people injured were being treated at the scene. A spokesman for the local interior ministry said that several cars were on fire, but would not comment on the casualties.
Arafat to get more tests
Tests on Yasser Arafat showed problems with digestion, but the Palestinian president has recovered sufficiently to undergo further examinations that could not be performed when he was first rushed to France, an aide said. Arafat, 75, felt well enough to follow the US election on Tuesday, and over the past two days was able to talk with doctors, colleagues and heads of state, officials said. Israel military intelligence's latest judgment is that doctors have not completed their diagnosis, but are considering that Arafat has either a viral stomach disorder that can be treated or some form of stomach cancer, according to an Israeli official.
■ United Nations
Sudan cited for violation
The top UN envoy to Sudan accused security forces in southern Darfur of forcing several thousand people who had taken refuge in a camp to move against their will in "flagrant violation" of international law. Jan Pronk demanded that all those rounded up and forced to leave the El Geer camp at 3am Tuesday be returned immediately from the Sherif camp, where they were taken. Pronk demanded that the government keep its agreement with the UN barring the forced transfer of any internally displaced people, known as IDPs.
Oil official gunned down
A senior Oil Ministry official was killed yesterday by gunmen on his way to work, the ministry's spokesman said. Hussein Ali al-Fattal, director general of the oil by-products distribution company, was shot to death by unknown assailants after leaving his house in the Yarmouk district of western Baghdad, said spokesman Assim Jihad. "He did not care about the threats that many of the ministry officials received. They are trying to undermine this vital sector in the country," Jihad said. "He is great loss to the oil sector." Iraq's oil industry, which provides desperately needed money for Iraq's reconstruction efforts, has been the target of repeated attacks by insurgents in recent months.