Friday, November 28, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Around The World


LONDON - Seven instructors at a prestigious military academy are under investigation for allegedly accepting gifts from foreign cadets hoping for better grades, the Minister of Defense said today.

Three of the seven instructors at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst were suspended from duty last week pending investigation, a ministry spokeswoman said.

The Sun newspaper reported today that the instructors allegedly accepted gifts including cars and expensive watches from foreign cadets. The investigation began after one cadet complained of low grades despite the gifts, the newspaper said.

The Sun said the gifts included Rolex watches, BMW and Mercedes cars and foreign holidays. It said the scandal came to light after one Arab cadet complained he was getting low grades despite his generosity.

The Ministry of Defense declined to comment on that allegation.

The Royal Military Academy was founded in 1799. About 10 percent of its cadets now come from African or Middle Eastern nations. King Hussein of Jordan is among the academy's alumni.

Japan puts gangsters on most-wanted list

TOKYO - Japanese police put two crime godfathers on their national wanted list today, saying the move would launch a rare manhunt for senior gangsters.

Crime-syndicate bosses Takashi Takizawa, 60, and Kenichi Shonoda, 55, were placed on the wanted list on suspicion of violating Japanese gun-control laws, police said. Police warned the two were armed for protection against rivals among Japan' gangsters, or yakuza, who have been warring since a top member of the largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi, was killed in a gangland hit in August.

The recent gang war started when senior Yamaguchi boss Masaru Takumi was shot dead in the coffee shop of a luxury hotel on Aug. 28 in the western port city of Kobe.

Activist blasts Canada's welcome for Chinese leader

OTTAWA - Harry Wu, the Chinese-American activist who has been one of Beijing's most persistent critics, scolded Canadian politicians for rolling out the red carpet for the arrival yesterday of Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Jiang arrived in Canada's capital to the strains of a brass band and the thunder of a ceremonial cannon.

Wu said human rights - rather than trade - should be the cornerstone of Canadian policy toward China.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien said he was following the normal script for high-level visits.

British prime minister pays a visit to Bosnia

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia - Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Bosnia today for a six-hour visit to show support for the Bosnian Serb republic president, who has pledged to abide by the country's peace agreement and waged a power struggle against her hard-line nationalist opponents.

Blair flew in through thick fog to Banja Luka, the main town in the Bosnian Serb republic and held a 15-minute meeting at the airport with President Biljana Plavsic.

He was later due to fly on to Sarajevo for a meeting with Bosnia's multiethnic joint presidency and the international High Representative to Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp.

Officials said Blair would raise the issue of indicted Serb war criminals who have failed to surrender to the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague.

China coal fire put out after burning 400 years

BEIJING - China has put out a coal-bed fire in its northwestern region of Xinjiang - more than 400 years after the blaze started, said an edition of the Weekly Digest seen in Beijing today.

The fire in the Baiyanghe coal field had spontaneously ignited in 1560, said the Nov. 24 edition of the newspaper, which is published by the Sichuan Daily.

The flames had consumed more than 127 million tons of coal and torched an area covering 8.5 million square feet, the newspaper said.

Brazil police officer sentenced in slaying of 21

RIO DE JANEIRO - A Rio de Janeiro state-court judge sentenced a former police officer to 441 years and four months in jail today for his role in a 1993 massacre in which 21 residents of Rio's Vigario Geral shantytown were gunned down, a court official said.

The jury of three women and four men found Arlindo Maginario Filho guilty on 20 counts of murder and four of attempted murder, the official said.

Four years after the massacre, Filho is only the second out of 55 accused police officers to be convicted for the killings.

About 20 hooded gunmen dressed in black and armed with automatic weapons and shotguns opened fire on Vigario Geral's residents to avenge the death of four policemen.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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