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In brief: Pair fear pirates may kill them

Sat., Nov. 21, 2009

London – A retired British couple snatched from their yacht by Somali pirates said in an interview broadcast Friday they fear they could be killed within a week or handed to a terrorist group if a ransom demand is not paid.

Paul and Rachel Chandler were kidnapped last month by pirates who seized their 38-foot yacht as they sailed toward Tanzania.

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 news program, the Chandlers are seen surrounded by armed men, some with guns pointed directly at the couple.

“I have no doubt that they will not hesitate to kill us in a week or so from now,” Paul Chandler, 59, said in the interview.

Pirates have demanded $7 million to release the Chandlers, but Britain’s government insists it won’t pay ransom to kidnappers.

Atom smasher switched on again

Geneva – Scientists switched on the world’s largest atom smasher Friday night for the first time since the $10 billion machine suffered a spectacular failure more than a year ago.

It took a year of repairs before beams of protons circulated late Friday in the Large Hadron Collider for the first time since it was heavily damaged by a simple electrical fault.

Circulation of the beams was a significant leap forward. The European Organization for Nuclear Research has taken the restart of the collider step by step to avoid further setbacks as it moves toward new scientific experiments – probably starting in January.

Army deserter gets reprieve

Toronto – A lesbian who deserted the U.S. military and fled to Canada must be given another chance to plead her case for refugee status, Canada’s Federal Court ruled Friday.

Judge Yves de Montigny said a board erred last February when it rejected Bethany Smith’s bid for refugee status.

Smith says she fled the Army because she was harassed and threatened by fellow soldiers over her sexual orientation. She told of hundreds of threatening notes pinned to her barracks door.

She testified she was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., the same base where a gay soldier was beaten to death with a baseball bat in 1999. She said she received a note that threatened her with the same fate.


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