Archive for Sunday, July 30, 2000

World Briefs

July 30, 2000



U.S. soldier pleads guilty in Kosovo killing

A U.S. soldier scheduled to stand trial this week for the January killing of an ethnic Albanian girl in Kosovo has pleaded guilty, a military spokeswoman said Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Frank J. Ronghi, 36, entered the plea late Friday, Hilda Patton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army's 5th Corps in Frankfurt, said Saturday.

Ronghi pleaded guilty to charges of murder, forcible sodomy and three counts of indecent acts with a child, she said.

Ronghi was charged with killing Merita Shabiu and burying her body in the snow near the town of Vitina. He was arrested just days after the killing.


Meningitis detected in Disney visitor

Authorities urged people who went to a discotheque at Disneyland Paris to consult a doctor after a young man who visited the nightclub last weekend was hospitalized with meningitis, police said Saturday.

Authorities said the 24-year-old man was diagnosed with a "severe form" of meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis is a serious and often deadly infection of fluid and membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is spread through coughing, kissing and other close contact.


Kashmiri separatists agree to talks

Kashmir's top umbrella group of political and separatist organizations on Saturday accepted India's offer of unconditional peace talks, proposing simultaneous discussions with India and Pakistan to solve the region's tangled five-decade dispute.

Abdul Ghani Bhat, the new chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, which seeks predominantly Muslim Kashmir's independence from India, said he had held unofficial discussions with some Indian officials. That confirmed reports that back-door meetings have been taking place to end the insurgency in the Himalayan region that has killed more than 16,000 people since 1989.

A 1972 cease-fire line divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars in the five decades since British colonialism ended. India controls two-thirds of Kashmir, Pakistan the rest, and both sides claim the entire territory.

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