Belgrade, Serbia

Rioters set fire to office inside U.S. Embassy

Angry Serbs broke into the U.S. Embassy and set fire to an office last night as rioters rampaged through Belgrade’s streets, putting an exclamation point of violence to a day of mass protest against Western support for an independent Kosovo.

At least 150,000 people rallied in Belgrade, waving Serbian flags and signs proclaiming “Stop USA terror,” to denounce the bid by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority to create their own state out of what Serbs consider the ancient heartland of their culture.

A charred body was found in the U.S. Embassy after the fire was put out, but all staff were accounted for, embassy spokeswoman Rian Harris said. Belgrade’s Pink TV said the body appeared to be that of a rioter.

TOLEDO, Ohio

McCain denies relationship with lobbyist

John McCain emphatically denied a romantic relationship with a female telecommunications lobbyist yesterday and said a report by The New York Times suggesting favoritism for her clients is “not true.”

“I’m very disappointed in the article. It’s not true,” McCain said during a news conference called to address the matter. McCain described the woman in question, lobbyist Vicki Iseman, as a friend.

The newspaper quoted anonymous aides as saying they had urged McCain and Iseman to stay away from each other prior to his failed presidential campaign in 2000. In its own follow-up story, The Washington Post quoted longtime aide John Weaver, who split with McCain last year, as saying he met with lobbyist Iseman and urged her to steer clear of McCain.

Raleigh, N.C.

Duke lacrosse players sue over emotional distress

Over three dozen current and former Duke lacrosse players claim in a lawsuit they suffered emotional distress during the furor over the now-discredited rape case against three of their teammates.

Attorneys planned to file a federal lawsuit yesterday in North Carolina that accuses Duke University, the City of Durham and several school and police officials of fraud, abuse, and breach of duty for supporting the prosecution of the case.

Lead attorney Chuck Cooper said the private university turned its back on the players to protect the school’s image.

“This lawsuit is born out of Duke and Durham’s sustained wrongdoing and callous conduct against the players,” Cooper said while announcing the lawsuit at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

Caracas, Venezuela

South American airliner missing

A commercial airliner with 46 people on board was reported missing yesterday in western Venezuela, officials said.

The twin-engine plane failed to contact traffic controllers as expected after it took off from Merida en route to Caracas’ airport, said Noel Marquez, director of Venezuela’s emergency management agency in Merida.

“It did not make contact with the control towers,” Marquez said. He said authorities were searching for the plane and confirmed that it belonged to Santa Barbara, a small Venezuelan airline that covers domestic routes.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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