Archive for Friday, May 25, 2001

World briefs

May 25, 2001

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Peru

Ex-president Fujimori faces homicide charges

Peru's attorney general has asked Congress to pursue homicide charges against former President Alberto Fujimori in a state-sponsored massacre in 1991, an investigating lawmaker said Thursday.

Atty. Gen. Nelly Calderon filed a "constitutional denunciation" against Fujimori late Wednesday for the killings of 15 people in a tenement building in Lima. The slayings were allegedly carried out by the Colina death squad run by Vladimiro Montesinos, who was then Peru's spy chief.

Human rights groups say the squad was formed by Montesinos to combat rising attacks by the Shining Path guerrillas. The November 1991 killings were carried out with submachine guns fitted with silencers. The victims were suspected of ties to leftist guerrillas. Calderon's report to Congress cited testimony from three former members of the group, who claimed Fujimori knew about their actions.

Nepal

Teen is youngest to climb Everest

A 15-year-old Sherpa, Temba Tsheri, who lost five fingers to frostbite last year has become the youngest person to conquer Mount Everest one of more than 50 climbers to summit the world's highest peak this week, Nepalese officials said Thursday.

An Austrian climber fell to his death Wednesday just 155 feet from the summit, the Tourism Ministry said. Peter Gerfried Banner, 55, a broadcast engineer from Klusterneuburg, Austria, slipped and fell from an altitude of 28,880 feet.

A flurry of expeditions scaled the 29,035-foot summit of the world's highest mountain from Tuesday to Thursday, taking advantage of a break in high winds and heavy snow that for days had forced climbers to postpone their bid for the top.

TOKYO

Arctic adventurer dies during Pole trip

Hyoichi Kohno scaled mountains, crossed the Sahara on foot and walked all the way to the North Pole before his unquenchable thirst for adventure finally killed him. A six-member Canadian team found Kohno's frozen body Thursday next to his sled on an ice floe, a week after his satellite locator stopped operating. He was on his way home to Tokyo, and was found 420 miles south of the North Pole.

It was not a surprising end for a man who had challenged nature so many times and had embarked on his most ambitious trek, a 9,300-mile ski-and-walk adventure that would last until 2007 and was to take him from the North Pole to his Tokyo suburb.

Russia

Thieves irradiated while dismantling lighthouse

Four unemployed men in search of scrap metal dismantled generators at a nuclear-powered lighthouse in northern Russia, exposing themselves to dangerous doses of radiation, an official said Thursday.

Viktor Kozlov, an adviser on nuclear safety in the city government in White Sea port of Kandalaksha, said the men removed the lead covers on the generators that power the lighthouse.

The Russian Navy confirmed that the theft had taken place and that the lighthouse was no longer operating, but declined to provide details or say when it would be repaired.

Two of the men were hospitalized with radiation sickness, while another two are in jail, ORT television reported. The men hoped to earn $103 each from the sale of the lead, the station said.

Vera Lisovskaya, a doctor at the local hospital in Kandalaksha, told ORT that the two who were hospitalized had burned their hands and eyes during the theft.

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