U.N.: Investigation needed in Lebanon
A U.N. report into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri concluded that Lebanon’s probe of the killing was unsatisfactory and an international investigation is needed.
The report, released yesterday, says there was a “distinct lack of commitment” by Lebanese authorities to investigate the crime, and the investigation was not carried out “in accordance with acceptable international standards.
In Beirut, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud responded by saying he had told U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to do “what is necessary” to learn who was behind the Feb. 14 killing.
Hariri died in a blast in central Beirut that killed 17 other people. The Lebanese opposition has blamed Syria and its Lebanese allies, who have both denied any involvement.
The report does not directly assign blame, saying the causes could not be determined.
“However, it is clear that the assassination took place in a political and security context marked by an acute polarization around the Syrian influence in Lebanon,” the report said.
Penellas Park, Fla.
Fla. court refuses to save Terri Schiavo
With Terri Schiavo visibly drawing closer to death yesterday, her parents refused to give up the fight to reinsert their brain-damaged daughter’s feeding tube, despite being rebuffed by both the nation’s highest court and a Florida judge.
Bob and Mary Schindler held onto the slim hope that Gov. Jeb Bush would somehow find a way to intervene or a federal judge who had turned them down before would see things their way. But Bush warned that he was running out of options.
As of yesterday afternoon, Schiavo, 41, had been without food or water for six full days and was showing signs of dehydration — flaky skin, dry tongue and lips, sunken eyes, according to attorneys and friends of the Schindlers. Doctors have said she would probably die within a week or two of the tube being pulled.
“It’s very frustrating. Every minute that goes by is a minute that Terri is being starved and dehydrated to death,” said her brother, Bobby Schindler, who said seeing her was like looking at “pictures of prisoners in concentration camps.”
Texas City, Texas
Dead body found near Texas plant explosion
The lone worker unaccounted for after an explosion at a BP oil refinery was found dead in the rubble, bringing the death toll to 15 in a blast that also injured more than 100 people, officials said yesterday.
BP spokesman Bill Stephens said the worker was found near the site of the blast. Earlier, officials said records had indicated the worker checked out and left the refinery after the Wednesday afternoon explosion.
Officials said about 1,100 employees and 2,200 contract workers were at the refinery when the blast shot flames into the sky, forced schoolchildren to cower under desks and showered plant grounds with ash and charred metal. It rattled windows more than five miles from the 1,200-acre plant near Houston.
Chess legend released from detention in Japan
Chess legend Bobby Fischer, en route to a new life in Iceland, said yesterday that freedom felt “great” after nine months’ detention in Japan, where he had been held for trying to leave the country using an invalid U.S. passport.
Fischer was released from Japanese custody earlier in the day and stopped over in Denmark before he was to board a private plane for Iceland, which has granted him citizenship.
Upon arriving in Reykjavik, Fischer will stay at the Hotel Loftleider — the same place where he stayed in 1972 when he defeated Russian Boris Spassky in the Cold War chess showdown that propelled him to international stardom.