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World in brief

Turkish leader helped end hijacking

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 30, 2003

ATHENS, Greece -- A 20-year-old man who used a razor blade and candles disguised as explosives to hijack a Turkish Airlines flight was persuaded by Turkey's prime minister to release his hostages after the plane landed in Athens.

Ozgur Gencarslan, a Turkish car mechanic, was arrested Saturday after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek police helped negotiate the release of all 204 people -- 195 passengers and nine crew members -- who were held. All were unharmed.

The passengers arrived in Ankara, Turkey, on Saturday, where they were met by relatives and friends. Crew members flew separately to Istanbul aboard the plane that had been hijacked.

According to Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and conversations between the pilot and Athens control tower, Erdogan telephoned the hijacker and urged him to surrender.

The hijacking lasted about five hours. According to Turkish police, Gencarslan hijacked the plane to reunite with his father in Germany. He reportedly was depressed because his stepfather barred him from seeing his mother and sister in eastern Turkey.

Prince Charles leaves hospital after operation

LONDON -- A smiling Prince Charles checked out of a hospital Saturday after undergoing hernia surgery the day before.

"Hernia today, gone tomorrow," Charles told well-wishers as he left King Edward VII hospital.

His office at St. James's Palace has released no details about how he sustained the injury.

Charles, 54, left the hospital alone, although he was accompanied by Camilla Parker Bowles, his longtime companion, when he checked in Friday.

Elsewhere . . .

THE MIDEAST: The new Palestinian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday for the first time since his appointment, meeting leaders of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement as he works to form a Cabinet. Fatah members declined to give details about their meeting with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, but Abbas has been consulting with Palestinian leaders about the new Cabinet.

SERBIA: Serbia intends to make it easier to extradite suspected war criminals to a United Nations tribunal in the Netherlands, Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic said Saturday. The move follows repeated calls by the U.N. tribunal that Serbia hasn't done enough to track down suspects believed in Serbia, especially Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. The two were top Bosnian-Serb leaders during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and have been indicted for genocide.

INDIA: A judge in Bombay sentenced a Swiss couple to seven years in prison for kidnapping, molesting and sexually abusing street children in India. William and Lily Marti of Steinhausen also were ordered to pay $106 to each of three girls. The couple was arrested in 2000 and charged with taking nude photographs of poor street children who approached them for food and money.

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