Archive for Tuesday, July 24, 2001

World briefs

July 24, 2001

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Moscow

Mayor rejects request for Gay Pride parade

The Moscow mayor's office on Monday harshly rebuffed requests for permission for a Gay Pride parade.

With various festive parades a typical sight in Moscow during holidays, the office of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said it has been flooded by requests to allow a Gay Pride parade. The latest one asked for a parade to be on the Day of the City this fall, when various other groups march across the center of Moscow.

Luzhkov's press service issued a stern statement saying that "the city government will not allow holding this march in Moscow on the Day of the City or on any other day, because such demonstrations outrage the majority of the capital's population, are in effect propaganda of dissipation and force upon society unacceptable norms of behavior."

Homosexuality was a crime punishable by prison time in the Soviet era.

Sicily

Umbrellas deployed against volcanic ash

Ash spewing Monday from Mount Etna forced residents of Catania to use umbrellas as they walked outside.

The ash fall was so heavy that the airport was closed, and Catania officials said they may have to declare a state of emergency.

Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, has been belching ash, smoke and lava since July 13 after it was rattled by hundreds of small earthquakes.

Its stunning displays of spewing orange magma and clouds of black ash have forced the evacuation of some resorts and restaurants on the volcano, but so far the towns nearby have remained occupied.

Etna springs to life every few months and its slopes are closely monitored. The volcano's last major eruption was in 1992.

Paris

Concorde investigators bolster theory on crash

New tests bolster the theory that a metal strip believed to have sparked the events that led to last year's Concorde crash came from a Continental Airlines jet, investigators said Monday.

Photographs taken in Houston, where Continental is based, helped identify the strip as coming from a Continental DC-10, France's Accident Investigation Bureau, or BEA, said in a statement.

Continental officials said they were studying the report but would not comment in detail while the investigation was still under way.

Investigators believe one of the Concorde's tires burst after running over a stray metal strip on the runway. The explosion sent rubber debris hurtling toward fuel tanks and prompting a fuel leak and fire that brought the plane down.

South Africa

Apartheid's 'Dr. Death' details scope of power

The former head of South Africa's chemical and biological warfare program testified Monday that apartheid-era authorities gave him unlimited power to further its secret mission.

Dr. Wouter Basson, dubbed "Dr. Death" by the media, has been on trial for 21 months in Pretoria, accused of some of the most horrific crimes committed in the name of apartheid, including 13 counts of murder.

Basson, who has pleaded innocent, said Monday that the apartheid authorities' only requirement was that he inform the military if the country was endangered, adding that he was never quite sure what that entailed.

Authorities say Basson headed a secret program that searched for ways to kill black enemies of the apartheid state. Witnesses have talked of creating poisoned chocolates and clothes, lacing a letter with anthrax and releasing cholera in the water supply at a refugee camp.

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