■ United Kingdom
Thousands hit by rail strike
Thousands of rail passengers faced a chaotic return to work yesterday as a strike crippled some of London's busiest commuter lines. South West Trains (SWT) warned people not to travel on its network after hundreds of drivers walked out in a growing row between unions and managers. There were no trains on many routes into London's Waterloo station from across southern England, forcing commuters to find another route to work after the long Bank Holiday weekend. About 900 members of the Aslef rail union walked out in a dispute with SWT over the provision of taxis for staff working anti-social shifts.
Secret files to be opened
President Traian Basescu has called for secret communist-era police files on clerics of different faiths to be opened. The dreaded Securitate is believed to have recruited many priests during communism, when churchgoing was not encouraged and atheism was official state policy. Some files, which are being opened ahead of Romania's joining the EU, show that citizens collaborated, while others show people were under surveillance. However, the definitions are often not clear because most informers and officers were also under surveillance. Patriarch Teoctist who heads the influential Orthodox Church to which more than 80 percent of Romanians belong said last week he was opposed to the files being opened.
■ United States
Lawmaker's son abducted
The 26-year-old son of a Pennsylvania lawmaker is missing, two days after allegedly being abducted at gunpoint from a Philadelphia street -- a kidnapping police said could be linked to the shooting of his mother and sister in a home invasion robbery. Democratic Representative John Myers, a vocal advocate for gun-control legislation, issued a statement on Monday asking the public's help in locating his son Shamari Taylor. Taylor's 56-year-old mother and his sister, 21, were shot at the family's home by two intruders on Sunday, the day after Taylor's abduction, police said. His mother remained hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the head. His sister, 21, was treated and released on Sunday evening.
Schaefer gets seven more
Paul Schaefer, a former corporal in Adolf Hitler's army who founded a notorious religious commune in the country, was sentenced to another seven years in prison, this time for possessing illegal weapons, a media report said on Monday. In May, Schaefer, 84, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for 25 cases of sexual abuse of minors. While preaching rigid morality, he sexually abused children and teenagers at the sealed-off commune known as Colonia Dignidad, authorities say.
`Gilligan's' boat for sale
If you're interested in a three-hour tour, broker George Schultz has just the boat for you. For US$89,400, you can buy the boat, the SS Minnow, famous for setting aground on an uncharted desert isle to set the stage for the 1960s television classic Gilligan's Island. The owner of the boat, Scotty Taylor of Parksville, is selling the storied vessel because he is tired of it, Schultz said. According to the Gilligan's Island Web site, the boat is the third of four vessels used in the show.
Smoke diverts airline flight
An Egypt Air flight carrying more than 300 passengers was diverted to the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland on Monday after smoke was detected in the cockpit. The Boeing 777 departed from Cairo for New York City but had to make an emergency landing in Goose Bay, said Kevin Aylward, CEO of Goose Bay Airport Corp. The passengers stayed on the plane while maintenance workers fixed the problem. "It's something they were able to fix very quickly," said Aylward, who did not know what the exact cause of the smoke was. No fire was found and no one aboard was injured, he added.