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Archive for Saturday, July 20, 2002

Briefly

July 20, 2002

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Greece

Terrorism suspect charged in murders

An alleged leader of the elusive November 17 terrorist organization was charged with 13 murders Friday as Greek authorities bore down on the violent, left-wing group that had operated with impunity for 27 years.

Handcuffed and wearing a bulletproof vest, 58-year-old Alexandros Giotopoulos, an alleged founder and ideologist for the secretive group, was taken to an Athens court and read the murder and attempted murder charges against him. He denied them all.

November 17 first appeared with the 1975 assassination of Richard Welch, the CIA station chief in Athens, and has claimed responsibility for 22 killings, including those of four U.S. and two Turkish officials.

Pakistan

U.S. official confirms remains are reporter's

DNA tests have confirmed that a body found in a shallow grave in Pakistan is that of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a U.S. official said Friday.

Pakistani police have been informed of the results, the official said in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pearl disappeared Jan. 23 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani extremists and Richard C. Reid, arrested in December on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes. A body believed to be the American correspondent's was found last month near a shed in Karachi where he disappeared.

A court on Monday convicted Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, 28, and three others in the Pearl case.

Vatican City

Frail pope prepares for strenuous trip

Brushing aside talk of resignation, Pope John Paul II departs next week for Canada, Guatemala and Mexico on a strenuous 11-day trip that will severely test his frail health.

The 82-year-old pope heads Tuesday to Toronto to preside over the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

From Toronto, he travels to Guatemala and Mexico for canonization ceremonies, before returning Aug. 2 to Rome.

John Paul is struggling with the symptoms of Parkinson's disease heavily slurred speech and trembling hands and is slowed by knee and hip aliments that make it difficult for him to walk or even stand.

Berlin

Planes in collision attempted evasion

Black-box recordings reveal that the cockpit crews of two planes that collided over southern Germany, killing 71 people, saw each other coming and attempted last-second maneuvers to avoid hitting at 35,000 feet, investigators said Friday.

A partial analysis of the flight data and voice recorders also showed that onboard collision warnings and a cargo plane pilot's word to ground control that he was descending came significantly later than previously believed.

A Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 and a DHL International Boeing 757-200 cargo jet slammed into each other July 1.

Spain

Plane lands safely after passenger wields knife

A Colombian airliner made an emergency landing Friday at a Spanish military base after a passenger brandished a knife, but officials denied the incident was a hijacking attempt.

Avianca Flight 010 was flying from Bogota, Colombia, to Madrid's Barajas Airport with 144 passengers and 11 crew members when a passenger identified as Manuel Vasquez Esposito, a Cuba-born Spaniard, allegedly took out the knife and threatened the crew and passengers. Juan Carlos Velez, director of Colombian Civil Aviation said the passenger also used a pen and cigarette lighter in making his threats.

He was subdued by security forces, police said.

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