As many as 65 killed when gasoline truck explodes in...

Foreign Digest

May 17, 1999

As many as 65 killed when gasoline truck explodes in Pakistan

ADDA RODU SULTAN, Pakistan -- An overturned truck loaded with gasoline exploded in Pakistan yesterday as dozens of people were collecting fuel from the leaking tanker. As many as 65 people were killed and at least 75 others were injured, police said.

Fire spread rapidly through the town of Adda Rodu Sultan in eastern Punjab province, engulfing shops and homes, and sending giant plumes of smoke and flames into the sky.

"People caught in that inferno were wailing and crying but none of us could help," said Sabir Hussain, a resident of the area.

Financier charged in scheme to be tried in N. Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Sixteen years after he fled Ireland, a former financier accused of bilking millions from elderly investors has been extradited from the United States to stand trial.

George Finbarr Ross, 53, appeared in Belfast Magistrates Court late Saturday after being flown from Alexandria, Va., under the guard of Royal Ulster Constabulary detectives one year after his arrest in Oklahoma.

Court officials read the 41 charges against Ross, alleging false accounting or procuring property through deception. Ross is a native of the Republic of Ireland.

Walesa says he'll consider a run for Polish presidency

WARSAW, Poland -- Former President Lech Walesa said yesterday that he would consider running for his old job in next year's election.

Walesa, the country's first democratically elected president, lost a 1995 re-election bid to President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist.

"I think I could win because I always had ideas," Walesa said after a meeting of his right-wing Christian Democracy of Poland party, which he formed in 1997. The party named him as its candidate Saturday.

Panel confirms banker as Macau chief executive

MACAU -- A local banker was confirmed yesterday by a Beijing-backed committee to be Macau's first leader when Portugal relinquishes control of this tiny gambling enclave.

Edmund Ho, 44, whose late father was known as "Mr. Macau" for his wealth and political clout, was chosen Saturday to become Macau's chief executive Dec. 20, when the Portuguese pull out after 442 years of colonial rule. Macau covers 8 1/2 square miles off the tip of southern China.

Stalled shrimp boat blamed for damage to Mexican reef

MEXICO CITY -- A shrimp boat whose engines stalled in bad weather has been blamed for damaging 1,290 square yards of coral, one of the worst cases of damage to Mexican reefs in recent memory.

The boat ground through coral in shallow waters that are off-limits to marine traffic near the beach resort Cancun, 800 miles east of Mexico City, local media reported yesterday.

The boat's owners may be liable for fines of up to $65,000 and could be forced to pay as much as $1.5 million to offset damage to the reef if they are found responsible.

Two Red Cross workers kidnapped near Chechnya

MOSCOW -- A New Zealander working for the International Committee of the Red Cross near the breakaway republic of Chechnya has been kidnapped, the agency said yesterday.

Geraldo Cruz Ribeiro and an unidentified Russian woman working for the ICRC were abducted from their car by a band of gunmen Saturday, the Red Cross said in a statement issued in Geneva.

Kidnappings, usually for ransom, have been rampant in Chechnya since the end of a 1994-1996 war for independence from Russia. In December, four foreign kidnap victims, including another New Zealander, were killed by their abductors in Chechnya.

Pub Date: 5/17/99

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