BELGIUM ““ (BBC) The Belgian government has told striking public transport workers that 400 extra police officers will be deployed in Brussels after a transport inspector was fatally punched. The assault on Saturday triggered a shutdown of the capital’s metro and bus network over the Easter weekend. The system remained paralyzed on Tuesday. The inspector was assaulted at the scene of a collision involving a car and a bus. He died of head injuries. The suspected assailant was arrested. The assailant, 28, was reported to be a passenger in the car that crashed and allegedly punched the inspector in the face, knocking him down. He died later in the hospital. According to witnesses and to the suspect himself, there was just one punch to the face. The victim has been named as Iliaz Tahiraj, 56, an Albanian-origin inspector for the STIB transport network with 29 years’ service. Hundreds of his STIB colleagues marched through central Brussels on Monday to show their outrage over his death. The pledge of extra security came after talks on Monday between officials from the federal and Brussels governments, the STIB management, and transport unions. Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet and Brussels Prime Minister Charles Picque took part.
NORWAY ““ (BBC) A second psychiatric evaluation of Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has found him sane enough to face trial and a jail term. The findings contradict a previous evaluation, published in November that found him legally insane. Breivik is due to stand trial on Monday over a bomb attack and shooting spree last July that killed 77 people. The 33-year-old, who insists he is mentally stable, was “pleased” with his new assessment, his lawyer said. Geir Lippestad told reporters his client would defend his actions during his 10-week trial, adding “he will also regret that he didn’t go further.” Both reports will be considered by the courts when it decides whether he should be sent to a psychiatric ward or jail. If Breivik is deemed to have been sane at the time of the killings, he could face 21 years in prison with the potential for indefinite extensions to his term as long as he is considered a danger to the public. “Our conclusion is that he is not psychotic at the time of the actions of terrorism and he is not psychotic now,” psychiatrist Terje Toerrissen, who carried out the second assessment with fellow psychiatrist Agnar Aspaas, told the Associated Press. The full report is confidential and the two psychiatrists will give their reasons for arriving at a different conclusion to the first team of experts when they testify during the trial, AP reports. Breivik has always admitted carrying out the attacks, saying they were an atrocious but necessary part of a “crusade” against multiculturalism and Islam. He denies charges of terrorism. In a recent letter to Norwegian tabloid Verdans Gang, he said being sent to a psychiatric ward would be a “fate worse than death.” He wrote, “To send a political activist to an asylum is more sadistic and more evil than killing him!” The attacks on July 22 last year were the worst acts of violence Norway has seen since World War II and have had a profound impact on the country.
POLAND ““ (BBC) Poland is marking the anniversary of the 2010 plane crash that killed its president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others. Ceremonies took place at Powazki military cemetery in Smolensk, western Russia. The late president’s twin, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, boycotted the state ceremonies for the second year running and attended separate events. He claims that the crash was an assassination. All 96 passengers and crew were killed in the crash in 2010, when the plane attempted to land in foggy weather. Several Polish politicians, including the first lady, had been on board. They had been traveling to Russian to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre of more than 20,000 Polish officers on Stalin’s orders by Soviet secret police during World War II. Prime Minister Donald Tusk took park in Tuesday’s ceremony with some of the victims’ relatives in Powazki military cemetery, where many of the crash victims are buried. President Bronislaw Komorowski attended a mass in Warsaw and laid flowers at a plaque commemorating the dead.
UKRAINE ““ (BBC) Ukraine has said it is doing all it can to secure the extradition from Libya of 19 of its citizens accused of being pro-Gaddafi mercenaries. The group, which also includes three Belarusians and two Russians, was formally charged on Monday, eight months after they were detained. The 24 accused insist they were working as oil industry contractors. One of the Russians has told the BBC that their release could already have been secured through diplomacy. The Russian embassy in Libya has told the BBC that it is doing all it can to secure the release of its citizens. Belarus says its three citizens had signed contracts to operate civil facilities in Libya and it is coordinating its efforts with the Russian and Ukrainian embassies. The Ukrainian authorities said negotiations between Kiev and the Libyan authorities were already underway. A spokesman for the Ukrainian foreign ministry said a possible extradition of its 19 citizens was on the table, even though the two countries had no formal treaty. The group who were detained as rebel fighters pursued the remnants of pro-Gaddafi forces last September is now being held near Tripoli at a Libyan Home Guard base.
UNITED KINGDOM ““ (BBC) The European Court of Human Rights has backed the extradition of Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects from the United Kingdom to the United States. The Strasbourg Court held there would be no violation of human rights for those facing life and solitary confinement in a “supermax” prison. Judges said they would consider further the case of another suspect because of mental health issues. Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “very pleased” with the news. “It’s quite right that we have a proper legal process, although sometimes you can be frustrated with how long things take,” he added. The court’s decision is one of its most important since 9/11 because it approves of human rights in US maximum security prisons, making it easier for the UK to send suspects to its closest ally. There could still hypothetically be an appeal against the court’s ruling in its final Grand Chamber ““ in practice, however, very few cases are re-examined in that final forum. The men have three months to try to persuade the Grand Chamber to reopen the entire case and examine it. If the men fail to launch an appeal, they will be extradited to the United States.