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World in brief: Jury to decide Diana inquest

Sat., March 3, 2007

A jury will deliver the verdict in the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend, a three-judge panel ruled Friday, accepting the argument that the coroner erred in trying to decide the case on her own.

The decision is a victory for Mohamed al Fayed, father of Diana’s boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the owner of Harrods, who has long alleged a conspiracy was behind the deaths of the couple in the August 1997 car crash, which occurred as they were pursued by paparazzi.

“Now that the coroner is compelled to have a jury … it will become clear beyond doubt that murder was committed,” said al Fayed, who has claimed rumors of an impending marriage between Diana and his Muslim son infuriated the royal family.

The judges at London’s High Court said jurors had to take part in the case because the circumstances surrounding the deaths could happen again. The court cited recent media intrusions suffered by Prince William’s girlfriend and other celebrities as proof that photographers still pursue public figures – often using motorcycles and other vehicles.

Athens, Greece

Ancient market uncovered

Archaeologists have discovered extensive remains of what is believed to be an ancient marketplace with shops and a religious center at the southern edge of Athens, the Culture Ministry said Friday.

The finds, in the coastal neighborhood of Voula, date from the fourth or fifth century B.C.

“It is a very large complex,” the ministry said. “It was a site of rich financial and religious activity, which was most probably a marketplace.”

Marketplaces – or agoras – teemed with shops, open-air stalls and administrative buildings, and were the financial, political and social center of ancient Greek life.

Archaeologists believe the complex belonged to the municipality of Aexonides Halai, among the largest settlements surrounding ancient Athens.

The main building was a hollow square with a rock-cut reservoir in the center. The building had 12 rooms – probably shops – and a small temple with an open-air altar.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Public smoking ban takes effect

People caught smoking in bars and restaurants in Puerto Rico faced fines Friday as a ban on lighting up in enclosed public spaces took effect.

The law was approved last year over the objections of some in the tourism industry. It also prohibits smoking in private cars with children under 13 inside.

Violators face a penalty of $250 for a first offense and up to $2,000 for repeat violations.

Opponents say the ban threatens tourism on an island where many people like to smoke while betting in the nearly two dozen casinos, which are considered key to Puerto Rico’s $3 billion tourism industry.


 

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