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Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

Briefly

August 28, 2003

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British Columbia

Former Nazi officer ordered extradited

A judge in Vancouver ruled Wednesday that a former Nazi officer convicted in absentia by an Italian court of 11 murders in World War II should be extradited to Italy.

Judge Selwyn Romilly ordered Michael Seifert, 79, to be detained pending an appeal of the extradition order.

A Canadian citizen of Ukrainian origin, Seifert has denied all allegations that led to his conviction in Italy in 2000.

Seifert was convicted for 11 murders at the Bolzano concentration camp, which was used in 1944 and 1945 as a transit camp for prisoners being shipped out of Italy. Seifert was a former SS officer.

After Seifert's conviction, the Canadian government began the process of stripping his citizenship, saying he lied about his Nazi past.

United Arab Emirates

Controversial Arab think tank closes

A think tank named after the Emirates president was shut down after it hosted speakers who promoted anti-American and anti-Semitic views, the president's office said Wednesday.

The president, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ordered the closure after he learned the center "had engaged in a discourse that starkly contradicted the principles of interfaith tolerance," his office said.

The Zayed International Centre was established in 1999 with the aim of promoting Arab unity.

Sheik Zayed "has always been a strong advocate of interfaith tolerance and harmony among religions, as constantly reflected in his words and actions. This respect for all faiths is a basic principle of Islam," said the statement from his office, faxed Wednesday to The Associated Press.

Center officials have said the think tank is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-American, but is ready to listen to any views.

Mexico

Dolphin exhibit closed after animal's death

The dolphin section of a Cancun aquatic park, which includes 27 dolphins from the Solomon Islands, has been temporarily closed following the death of a dolphin.

A Mexican dolphin at the privately operated Parque Nizuc died Sunday, raising concerns among animal welfare groups that the Solomon Island dolphins may have passed along illness to the local population.

Manuel Gallardo, a spokesman for the environmental prosecutor's office, said the dolphin exhibit was temporarily shut down. He said that the park had failed to isolate the Solomon Islands dolphins from other dolphins.

The journey in July of the Solomon Islands dolphins half way around the globe by plane to this Caribbean resort sparked an international debate about the growing entertainment industry surrounding the animals.

Germany

Captain waits for rain while barge stranded

Stuck with his barge on the Elbe river for five months, Polish captain Wladzimierz Rosik has to be one of the unluckiest victims of Germany's summer drought.

Rosik, 57, ran aground near Schnackenburg southeast of Hamburg in March -- when river levels were high -- after he steered the empty ship out of the deepest part of the river. Now, Europe's hot dry summer has virtually stopped freighter traffic on the Elbe -- and left Rosik's ship high and dry amid grass and weeds.

"It's ready to sail. We just need to wait for water," Rosik said. "I'm not even upset anymore. What can I do?"

Not much for now: The river levels are currently at 3 feet, and the barge needs at least 15 feet depth to steam away.

Though his livelihood is on hold and his family waits back in Poland, Rosik says he is not abandoning ship. He still has drinking water in the tank and diesel for the generator, and the mayor of Schnackenburg has offered to help if they run out.

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