Quebec premier upbraids rail chief

Crews worked Thursday to find the burned remains of the 50 people presumed dead in Saturday’s catastrophic oil train derailment, as Quebec Premier Pauline Marois toured the traumatized town and took the U.S. railway company’s chief to task for not visiting sooner.

Marois arrived in the community of Lac-Megantic hours after police said they had recovered five more bodies, raising the count to 20. Thirty people were still missing.

Edward Burkhardt, president and chief executive of U.S.-based Rail World, which owns the runaway train, also was in town. He arrived Wednesday with a police escort and faced jeers from residents.

Marois had earlier faulted Burkhardt for what she said was a slow response, and she reiterated that Thursday. “The leader of this company should have been there from the beginning,” she said at a news conference.

Burkhardt, who has apologized to the townspeople, has blamed the engineer for failing to set the brakes properly before the disaster. He said the engineer had been suspended without pay and was under “police control.”

— Associated Press

25 Buddhists jailed for role in deadly riot

Twenty-five Buddhists were sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison for murder and other crimes during a night of rioting, burning and killing in central Burma, after weeks in which it appeared that only Muslims were being punished for sectarian violence aimed mainly at members of their own religion.

But the sentences issued Wednesday and Thursday did little to erase a sense of unequal justice: A day earlier, a Muslim received a life sentence for murdering one of the 43 people killed March 20 and 21 in the central town of Meikhtila.

A wave of violence over the past year in the predominantly Buddhist country has left more than 250 people dead and 140,000 others fleeing their homes, most of them Muslim. The attacks, and officials’ inability to stop them, have marred Burma’s image as it moves toward democracy after nearly five decades of military rule.

— Associated Press


U.N. judges reinstate Karadzic genocide charge: Appeals judges at the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague reinstated a genocide charge against Radovan Karadzic linked to a campaign of killing and mistreating non-Serbs at the start of the Bosnian war in 1992. The decision reversed the former Bosnian Serb president’s acquittal last year on one of the two genocide charges he faces, but it does not amount to a conviction. Karadzic is being tried on charges including orchestrating the 1995 murder by Serb forces of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica.

— From news services