News In Brief

The long international quest for political asylum by Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan ended with his capture in Kenya and transfer to Turkey for trial on murder charges. He was reported to be seeking refuge in the Greek embassy in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and was arrested as he tried to leave for a flight to the Netherlands. Tens of thousands of people have died in the 14-year campaign for autonomy waged by Ocalan's movement. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Protests by Ocalan supporters erupted across Europe at the news of his capture. Kurds scuffled with police or forced their way into UN offices, Greek and Kenyan embassies, or Greek consulates in London, Geneva, Copenhagen, The Hague, Paris, Moscow, Brussels, Vienna, and Stockholm. Other protests took place in the German cities of Bonn, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart; Marseille and Strasbourg, France; Milan, Italy; Zurich and Berne, Switzerland; and Yerevan, Armenia.

With a March 10 deadline looming for the transfer of home-rule powers to Northern Ireland, an urgent meeting was scheduled between British Prime Minister Blair and Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The "Good Friday" peace deal in the troubled province is considered at a crucial stage because Protestant Unionists are refusing to sit alongside Sinn Fein in a joint administration if the IRA does not first hand over its weapons.

Volkswagen, BASF, Siemens, nine other top companies, and the German government announced they'll set up a foundation to compensate as many as 300,000 former Nazi-era slave laborers. It was industry's first formal step toward establishing such a fund, following a series of high-dollar lawsuits filed in the US by former slave workers against individual German companies. The consortium did not say how much money would go into the fund, but pledged to launch it by Sept. 1. The World Jewish Congress welcomed the move and said it would next target banks and the government in France.

Iraqi leaders upped the level of defiance against US and British air attacks and neighboring countries whose bases are used for them. Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan threatened retaliation against Turkey's Incirlik airfield. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, rebuffed Monday in a bid to cut off Turkish cooperation, defended the retaliation threat. The US said it took the threats seriously and vowed a "swift and sure response."

Six powerful explosions - five of them car bombs - went off simultaneously in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, in an apparent attempt to kill President Islam Karimov. At least nine people died and dozens of others were reported hurt. Among the sites targeted: the government headquarters, Interior Ministry, and national bank. Karimov, who rules with a heavy hand, escaped injury. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

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