Noted adventurer lost to crocodile

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - An acclaimed outdoorsman who wrote movingly about testing himself against nature is presumed dead after a crocodile snatched him from his kayak while he led an American expedition from the source of the White Nile into the heart of Congo.

Two Americans being guided by South African Hendrik Coetzee, 35, on the grueling trip could only watch in horror. They paddled unharmed to safety after the Tuesday morning attack on the Lukuga River in Congo.

Coetzee's body has not been recovered. The stretch of river where the three were traveling is notoriously dangerous because of its whitewater, and the high density of crocodiles and hippos. Celliers Kruger, a friend of Coetzee's who owns a South African kayaking company, said: "He was the bravest guy I've ever known. But he wasn't crazy."

In a blog called the Great White Explorer that chronicled the trip sponsored by the Eddie Bauer clothing and outdoor-equipment company, Coetzee wrote about the thrill of taking to uncharted waters, including stretches that might soon disappear due to planned dams. - AP

Damages sought for Demjanjuk

MUNICH - John Demjanjuk's attorney has filed a motion in the Munich state court where the accused death-camp guard is on trial, saying his client's rights are being violated by keeping him in jail and demanding damages "in the millions."

Attorney Ulrich Busch said Demjanjuk should be given credit for time served in Israel and the United States and said in a motion Thursday that the court was "depriving him of his freedom." Busch said that adds up to more than he could be expected to serve if convicted.

Demjanjuk, 90, is standing trial on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly having been a guard at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp. He denies the charges. The court took the motion under advisement but has rejected similar requests in the past.

- AP

Miniskirt ruse slows motorists

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Authorities said Thursday that life-size cardboards of female police officers in miniskirts placed alongside roads have managed to slow down speeding drivers in several central Czech towns.

The mayor of the town of Mrakotin, Miroslav Pozar, said that drivers, including him, automatically slow down when they see such officers. Pozar dismissed allegations this was because the drivers want to look at the officer's legs, rather than her uniform.

In nearby Myslotin, a local radio station recently provided a hat and an anorak to help such an officer get warm, but they were stolen in a day. Others made away with the cardboard officer itself. - AP

Elsewhere:

Spanish air traffic controllers whose wildcat strike paralyzed the country's airspace and stranded more than 600,000 people last weekend refused on Thursday to be questioned by prosecutors. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed to use all state powers to ensure that the travel chaos isn't repeated during the Christmas season.