Foreign Digest


July 13, 2004

Power outage hits Athens 1 month before Olympics

ATHENS, Greece - A widespread power outage hit Athens and southern Greece yesterday, cutting off air conditioning as temperatures pushed past 104 degrees and causing traffic chaos in the capital a month before the start of the Olympics.

The midday blackout, blamed by the government on "mismanagement" of the electrical grid, raised serious concerns about Athens' ability to handle increased power demands during the Olympics, but officials promised the network was ready to handle the Aug. 13-29 games.

Power gradually started returning to Athens after about 20 minutes but was not fully restored to the city until just over three hours after the outage began. Government officials said electricity would be restored to the entire region during the rest of the day. At one point, generators were pressed into service at Olympic venues.

Judges order another delay in Milosevic trial

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Judges in Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial ordered another delay in the start of his defense case yesterday following a medical test showing his blood pressure is still too high.

The former Yugoslav president had been scheduled to begin the long-awaited presentation of his defense tomorrow, after three earlier postponements.

Judges at the U.N. tribunal said he is still too sick and they will review the status of his health on Monday.

Italy accepts refugees after weeks of uncertainty

ROME - After weeks stranded in the Mediterranean, 37 Africans were allowed to disembark in Italy yesterday after officials here bowed to international pressure and agreed to accept the desperate migrants.

All but one of the refugees are from Sudan, and most say they fled Darfur, where Arab attackers have razed hundreds of black African villages, killed tens of thousands and driven more than 1 million from their homes.

The German aid group Cap Anamur says it came across a dinghy carrying 36 Sudanese and one man from Sierra Leone in the Mediterranean on June 20 purely by chance. The ship picked up the men 100 miles from the Italian island of Lampedusa and 180 miles from Malta.

Marine found in Lebanon cooperating with military

BERLIN - The U.S. Marine who turned up in Lebanon nearly three weeks after he mysteriously vanished in Iraq has been cooperating fully with the U.S. military, officials said yesterday.

Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was being questioned at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in the same manner as others who have escaped captivity in Iraq, said Army Lt. Col. Sally Harvey, a clinical neuropsychologist at the hospital.

Mexico's first lady rejects talk of presidential run

MEXICO CITY - First lady Marta Sahagun yesterday ruled out plans to seek the presidency on her own in 2006, ending speculation that at times has overshadowed the actions of her husband, Vicente Fox.

"I will not be a candidate for presidency of the republic," Sahagun said in an announcement at the presidential residence of Los Pinos.

Critics had complained Sahagun was unfairly using her position as first lady as a presidential springboard - a sensitive issue in Mexico, which is trying to escape from a legacy of presidents choosing their successors and where the constitution limits them to one term.

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