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Monday, January 12, 2004  

News: Around the world

  • Suspect confesses to murder of Swedish politician
  • The murder of a prominent European politician has been solved. It does not seem to have been politically inspired. Faced with evidence that proved he had the motive, means and opportunity to kill Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, the suspect has confessed. Among the evidence is a DNA test revealing Lindh's blood on a knife in his possession.

    STOCKHOLM, Sweden Jan. 7 - Under pressure to solve last year's murder of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, prosecutors received a surprise confession from the lone suspect after months of denials. His lawyer said the attack was random.

    Mijailo Mijailovic confessed during an interrogation Tuesday night to the Sept. 10 fatal stabbing, chief prosecutor Agneta Blidberg told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    His lawyer Peter Althin didn't disclose the nature of the confession but said there was no political motivation behind Lindh's stabbing, which happened four days ahead of a bitter referendum on the euro. Lindh had been an ardent supporter of the common currency, which Swedes voted not to adopt.

    Lindh's murder revived memories of the violent demise of another Swedish politician.

    It also brought relief: Many were concerned the Lindh murder might not be solved, as in the case of the late Prime Minister Olof Palme. He was shot in a Stockholm street in 1986, but his murderer was never found.

    Justice Minister Thomas Bodstroen said the confession should give Swedes peace of mind that the right man was caught.

    . . .Haunted by the specter of the shooting of Palme as he walked home from a movie theater with his wife and, like Lindh, without bodyguards police labored to build a meticulous case with plenty of evidence.

    Unlike American pols, Swedish leaders do not go about with a entourage of security personnel. It seems unlikely that Mijailovic distinguished her from any other woman on a shopping trip. Lindh was killed in a ritzy department store, probably in a robbery attempt.

    Since Sweden does not have a death penalty, the confessed murderer will receive a sentence of from ten years to life in prison.

  • Muslim minority blamed in Thai raids
  • Muslims, a minority of Thailand's population, are said to responsible for guerilla activity in a border region there.

    PATTANI, Thailand - Suspected Muslim rebels launched a grenade attack on a police station in southern Thailand on Wednesday, the latest in a series of raids since Sunday in which six police officers and soldiers have been killed.

    There were no casualties in the latest attack, said police Maj. Thani Twibsi. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said three people suspected of involvement in the raid were arrested, but Defense Minister Thammarak Issarangkura na Ayudhaya later said they were only questioned.

    The prime minister said insurgents with Thai-Malaysian citizenship were responsible for the attacks, in which 21 schools have been razed.

    The provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun, which border Malaysia, are the only Muslim-majority regions of Thailand. The provinces were plagued by an Islamic insurgency for decades before it died down in the late 1990s. But over the past two years, attacks in the area have killed more than 56 police and soldiers.

    On Sunday, suspected insurgents set fire to schools and raided an armory in Narathiwat province, killing four soldiers. Two bombings in Pattani province on Monday killed two policemen.

  • Airbus bests Boeing in rivalry
  • For rather silly reasons, it has become fashionable to bash the French in the blogosphere.But, a major corporation has good news for France.

    At last week's Dubai Air Show, Airbus claimed supremacy in the commercial jet market, saying it is selling more jets than Boeing, its longtime rival. Boeing, however, was not so willing to move over to the No. 2 slot. While Boeing did not dispute that Airbus has more orders so far this year -- 263 vs. 216 -- a spokesman said it's the longer term that counts. We are not concerned about one downturn year," Boeing's Randy Baseler told the Associated Press. Airbus touted its 555-seat A380 at the show, while Boeing said the market is limited for such unwieldy big aircraft, and the future is in smaller jets. Airbus countered that it is "making civil aviation history," with 129 orders for the jumbo jet already in hand. Deals worth about $7.5 billion were made at the Dubai show, including a $3 billion order from Qatar for Airbus aircraft.

    The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports zooming past Boeing is quite an accomplishment.

    It's official. For the first time in its 33-year history, Airbus has bested The Boeing Co. in jetliner production.

    And Airbus may end up holding the title of "world's biggest airplane maker" for a few years.

    . . .At a dinner for journalists last month in Munich, Germany, Rainer Hertrich, co-chief executive of the European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co.

    , which owns 80 percent of Airbus, said Airbus could be the world's biggest plane maker for at least 10 years.

    "I believe we will be just ahead of Boeing for the next six to eight years, maybe even 10 years," Hertrich said. "Boeing isn't weak or dead, though, and should not be underestimated."

    Industry analysts agree that Airbus will probably deliver more planes than Boeing for the next few years. Neither manufacturer, however, is likely to dominate production the way Boeing did for so long, analysts say.

    Boeing has drastically cut its production rates since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks contributed to the worst downturn in airline industry history. Boeing is unlikely to boost production until 2005.

    Airbus also has more orders for this year. Its headquarters are in Toulouse.

    Note: Are Muslim rebels in Thailand part of an international terrorist movement? Learn more about them at Silver Rights.

    2:12 PM