Foreign Digest: Protesters clash with Macedonian police; TV host sentenced

July 4
Macedonia
Protesters clash with police over sentences

Hundreds of ethnic Albanians protesting a court ruling clashed Friday with Macedonian police, who fired water cannon and tear gas to prevent the crowd from storming a court building.

Police said about 2,000 people gathered in the capital, Skopje, to protest the life sentences imposed this week on six ethnic Albanian Muslims convicted of killing five Christian fishermen, in an alleged plot to destabilize the country. The men deny the charges, and their attorneys said there was no material evidence against them. The Easter 2012 shootings fueled simmering tensions between Macedonia’s Christian Orthodox majority population and the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian minority.

Police said that 20 police officers and several protesters were injured and that six people were detained in the clashes.

— Associated Press

Britain
TV entertainer
sentenced for abuse

Television entertainer Rolf Harris, who for decades cultivated an image of the affectionate uncle in children’s TV programs, was sentenced Friday to nearly six years in prison for a string of abuses against young girls.

Judge Nigel Sweeney told London’s Southwark Crown Court that the performer, a TV fixture in Britain and Australia for years, had abused the trust of millions.

Ignoring the appeals of Harris’s attorney that the trial had punished him enough, Sweeney ruled that Harris must spend five years and nine months behind bars for the 12 counts of abuse that took place from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Harris’s sentence prompted at least 12 new allegations against him to emerge, according to the law firm Slater & Gordon

— Associated Press

France
Tighter security on U.S.-bound flights

France is increasing security on flights headed for the United States this summer amid U.S. concerns that al-Qaeda is trying to develop a new kind of bomb.

The Obama administration called this week for tighter security measures at foreign airports that have direct flights to the United States, prompting British airports to increase security Thursday.

On Friday, the French civil aviation authority announced stepped-up security “for the summer period.” The agency said the measures might cause delays on U.S.-bound flights. French government officials would not elaborate on the measures.

— Associated Press

Suspected Balkan crime boss indicted: A Kosovo court said it had indicted suspected Balkan crime boss Naser Kelmendi, blacklisted by Washington on suspicion of drug trafficking, on charges related to organized crime, murder and drug smuggling. Kelmendi, 56, is a Kosovo-born ethnic Albanian with Bosnian citizenship. He was arrested in Kosovo last year on a warrant from Bosnia, but he remained in custody in Kosovo because the countries do not have an extradition agreement. Bosnia sought Kelmendi’s extradition because of his suspected involvement in organized crime and his alleged role in the 2007 killing of Ramiz Delalic, a Bosnian Muslim warlord.

Mexico finds radioactive load: Mexican authorities found a load of dangerous radioactive material in a stolen pickup, a top civil protection official said Friday. The load of iridium 192 was found abandoned on a street a few miles from where the truck, belonging to a metalworking company, was stolen in the industrial Mexico City suburb of Tlalnepantla, Luis Felipe Puente, the head of the country’s civil protection agency, said on Twitter. Troops mounted a security perimeter around the small container emblazoned with logos for hazardous materials until it was removed from the site by the country’s nuclear safety commission, according to media reports. The material is normally used in industrial radiography.

— From news services

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