News round-up

5 - 12 May 1997

Eleven killed in Polish train crash

At least 11 people died and 30 were injured when part of a passenger express train derailed and crashed into a stationary goods train near Szczecin in north-west Poland. A railway official said on Polish television that a faulty switch appeared to have caused the derailment. A full investigation into the catastrophe has been promised.

Troops fail to stop exodus from Albania

International troops in Albania overseeing aid deliveries have helped calm the situation but have been unable to stop the flood of Albanians fleeing the country. Lieutenant General Luciano Forlani, leader of the multi-national force, said they had helped create a more secure environment. However his troops do not have the authority to stop the exodus of Albanians. At least 15,000 Albanians have fled across the Adriatic to Italy since the uprising began in February.

Romanian hospital can't afford baby burials

Doctors at a Romanian hospital said they were storing the corpses of 15 babies in a chemical solution because they can not afford to bury them. The doctors, in the central city of Cluj, refuted reports alleging the existence of a mass grave for abandoned children who died in their paediatrics ward.

They said the cash-strapped hospital is keeping the autopsied corpses of 15 children in a solution of formaldehyde in water because they could not pay for their burial. They are waiting for the parents to come and claim the bodies, they said.

Largest European arms fair opens in Czech Republic

IDET 97, the largest armaments trade fair to be held in Europe this year opened in the Czech Republic with over 300 exhibitors from 23 countries. For international arms dealers, the Eastern and Central European market currently represents the second most lucrative area of interest behind the wealthy Gulf states, and is thought to be worth $35 billion in potential sales. Dealers believe this large demand is driven by the regions aspirations regarding NATO.

Cosma on trial over 1991 Romanian riots

Romanian miners' union leader Miron Cosma has denied charges of undermining state authority which were brought against him after riots that toppled Romania's first post-communist Government. He told the criminal court that the charges were 'groundless' and that he had never wanted to overthrow the Government.

Cosma, 42, could be jailed for up to 15 years if found guilty. In 1991 he led thousands of coal miners on a three-day protest to Bucharest, where Government offices were damaged and three people were killed when clashes erupted between the miners and security forces. The riots led to the fall of Roman, the reformist Prime Minister.

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