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Croatia 'failing' in war-crime probe

ZAGREB, Croatia - Amnesty International on Thursday accused Croatia of failing to prosecute war crimes quickly and impartially, saying many perpetrators may never face trial because of the country's lack of will to probe its painful history.

Despite promises to aggressively investigate war crimes during the 1991-95 ethnic war with Serb rebels, the country closes only 18 cases a year, with about 700 cases yet to be prosecuted, Amnesty said.

"Croatia must deal with its past in order to move forward," said Amnesty's Nicola Duckworth, who added that the slow pace could hamper the country's dream of entering the European Union.

The country has been reluctant to investigate the ethnic Croat majority, with three-quarters of the accused being ethnic Serbs, the report said.

- AP

Lebanese probe appears stalled

BEIRUT, Lebanon - A spokesman for the U.N. tribunal investigating the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister said Wednesday that it would be weeks or even months before details of indictments were made public.

The tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of Rafik al-Hariri in a Beirut truck bombing is expected to issue its first indictments as soon as this month.

But court spokesman Crispin Thorold said the contents would remain confidential until confirmed by the pretrial judge, which could take "at least six to 10 weeks" from the time indictments are submitted.

The court has kept silent on possible suspects, but several foreign media reports say the court has evidence that members of Hezbollah, the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite extremist group, were behind the killing. That is raising fears of more violence in the fractured country. - AP

Snow shuts down Paris' Eiffel Tower

PARIS - Snow in Paris on Wednesday shut down the city's main airport, its bus system and the Eiffel Tower. Elsewhere in Europe, bad weather caused travel chaos in Scotland.

In Paris, where heavy snowfall is unusual, snow reached 4 inches. It quickly turned into a slushy mess, and vehicles skidded on unplowed roads. Flights in and out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport were backed up and all buses in the capital stopped running, as did many suburban buses.

The Eiffel Tower was shut to tourists at midday because officials could not sprinkle salt on the tower's floors because of concerns it could damage the iron structure.

In Scotland, roads and railways were struggling to remain open after "exceptional conditions" and severe cold.

- AP


The toll of confirmed deaths in a landslide in Colombia has reached 47, with about 80 people unaccounted for. An emergency management director said there was no chance of finding survivors under the sodden earth, which is up to 26 feet deep. Sunday's slide buried about three dozen homes in the poor Medellin suburb of Bello.

A speeding train slammed into another moving slowly through a station in eastern Bangladesh, killing as many as 19 people and injuring scores, officials said. Local news reports said the accident may have been caused by a signal error.

An Egyptian official believes one of two sharks that attacked tourists in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh has been caught.