Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ France

Kidnap-murder pair in court

Two women, suspected of belonging to a kidnap gang which killed a man, appeared before a judge on Saturday prior to being charged, a judicial source said. The two were placed under formal investigation, a precursor to criminal charges as "accessory to kidnap attempts" and association with criminals to carry out "kidnapping, detention and confinement," the source said. Ilan Halimi went missing last month after being lured into a trap by a woman and was held prisoner for three weeks by a gang that sent ransom demands to his family. He was discovered bound and gagged, with horrific burns and stab injuries. He died on the way to hospital.

■ Spain

Police seize cocaine boat

Police said on Saturday they had seized 3 tonnes of cocaine on a boat between the Canary Islands and Africa, matching a similar-sized seizure on Tuesday. Following the operations, police said Africa had grown in importance as a stopping point for Colombian drug traffickers wanting to smuggle their cargo to Spain and on to Europe. Police arrested eight crewmen and detained three Colombians in Madrid.

■ Zimbabwe

Mugabe warns of threats

President Robert Mugabe told a crowd of thousands on Saturday that Zimbabwe was under threat from imperialism, and delivered a blistering attack on gays. "Bear in mind that the monster of imperialism is continuously and dangerously lurking in the bush awaiting a more favorable opportunity to devour our national sovereignty," Mugabe said at his official birthday party in the city of Mutare. He also launched another blistering attack on homosexuality -- he has previously described gays as worse than dogs and pigs -- saying it was abhorrent. He said "leave whites to do that", and condemned churches for blessing gay marriages. He said his government would jail clergy who granted gay marriages in Zimbabwe.

■ France

Hooligan skiers targeted

Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy has a new target: hooligan skiers. During a visit to Chamonix, he announced he favors "zero tolerance" against "risky skiers" who endangered the health of others. Skiers were split over the new plans, which will apply to foreign visitors and locals. "I'm here to relax, not be followed around by gendarmes," said Pierre Bonelli, 44, on holiday at Les Arcs: "What are they going to do? Put speed cameras on the pistes? Ski with a blue light on their helmets?"

■ Germany

Espionage suspects jailed

Authorities have jailed two men suspected of buying weapons and missile technology on behalf of Iranian intelligence services, a government official said on Saturday. The two men, identified as a 59-year-old German citizen named Joseph Edward G. and a 41-year-old foreigner named Yousef P., were jailed pending completion of the prosecutors' investigation of possible espionage activities. A government official familiar with some aspects of the case said on condition of anonymity that they were suspected of acting on behalf of Iran. The prosecutors office said the two men "were occupied in recent months with shopping for control components for projectiles, equipment for the production of European Ariane IV launch vehicle rockets, military radio and night-vision equipment" and other items.

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