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World/nation briefs

  • November 29, 2012 - 7:39 PM

FRANCE

Court overturns Concorde convictions

An appeals court overturned convictions against Continental Airlines and a mechanic for the crash of an Air France Concorde that killed 113 people in July 2000. A mistake made weeks earlier by a Continental mechanic in Houston played a crucial role in the crash, the court found. The mechanic fitted the wrong metal strip on a Continental DC-10. The piece ultimately fell off on the runway in Paris, puncturing the Concorde's tire. The burst tire sent bits of rubber flying, puncturing the fuel tanks, which started the fire that brought down the plane. On Thursday, Judge Michele Luga overturned the 2010 manslaughter convictions, saying that the mechanic "could never have imagined a scenario where this simple titanium blade could cause such a disaster."

IRAQ

Bombings kill at least 48 across country

As workers gathered for breakfast at a restaurant in Hilla, a Shiite-dominated city south of Baghdad, an explosives-laden car parked outside blew up, sending shrapnel ripping through the crowd. As an ambulance raced to the scene, another car was in pursuit, driven by a suicide bomber -- who detonated his payload just as the first responders gathered. The bombings in Hilla, in which security officials said 32 people were killed and 138 were wounded, were the worst in a day of insurgent attacks across Iraq. Other attacks in Karbala, a Shiite holy city in the south, Fallujah, Mosul and Baghdad left 16 people dead and about 70 wounded.

AFGHANISTAN

10 killed as minivan hits roadside bomb

A minivan packed with civilians struck a roadside bomb in the southern province of Oruzgan, killing 10 people and wounding eight. Most of the victims were women and children, said a spokesman for the provincial governor. The occupants of the vehicle were on their way to celebrate a family member's return from the pilgrimage to Mecca, the spokesman said. He blamed the explosion on Taliban insurgents, who often plant roadside bombs that kill indiscriminately.

MEXICO

Forest activist and son slain by traffickers

An environmental activist who attempted to protect Mexican forests from drug traffickers was slain along with her 10-year-old son even though they were under police protection, associates said. Juventina Villa Mojica was killed when about 30 gunmen intercepted her police convoy in the mineral-rich hills of southern Guerrero state, colleagues said. Her son, Rey, was also killed, the associates said, while a 7-year-old daughter survived. Drug traffickers in the state covet the many virgin forests both for the profitable lumber they yield and the space to plant marijuana and other crops that can be used to produce narcotics.

NETHERLANDS

U.N. court frees former Kosovo leader

A U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague acquitted the former prime minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, for the second time of torturing and killing Serb civilians while he was a commander of the NATO-backed Kosovo Liberation Army during its fight for independence in 1999. Two of his comrades were also acquitted, although one, Lahi Brahimaj, has already served a six-year sentence for torture. In Serbia, which is involved in crucial talks with Kosovo, a former Serbian province before the war, the decision was expected to provoke a wave of angry reactions.

BANGLADESH

Owner: I didn't know a fire exit was needed

The owner of a Dhaka clothing factory where a fire killed 112 people said he was never informed the facility was required to have an emergency exit, a sign of how far removed the leaders of the nation's garment industry are from issues of worker safety. "It was my fault. But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit, which could be made accessible from outside," factory owner Delwar Hossain was quoted as telling the Daily Star newspaper. "Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones."

NATIONWIDE

Technician charged in hepatitis C infections

A medical technician who wandered in and out of hospital jobs from the desert Southwest to New England was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a hepatitis C outbreak that infected more than 30 patients at a New Hampshire hospital with the potentially life-threatening disease and possibly 4,000 more in Pennsylvania, Maryland and other states. David Kwiatkow-ski, a 33-year-old former radiology tech, was charged with seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud. He allegedly stole hospital syringes, injected himself, then secretly placed the tainted syringes for use on hospital patients.

WASHINGTON

Gender-neutral certificates not ready

The first wave of same-sex couples to seek marriage licenses in Washington will likely walk away with marriage certificates identifying them as bride and groom -- despite a push by county and state officials to have gender-appropriate documents ready in time. That's because the final step in a process by the state Department of Health to make certificates gender neutral won't occur until Dec. 6, the day the new marriage law takes effect. And many counties will need several more days to reprogram computer systems to generate these new certificates, the proposed language for which would refer to Spouse A and Spouse B instead of bride and groom.

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