1. Archive

Report: 150,000 deaths in Guatemala's war

Guatemala's 35-year civil war left 150,000 people dead and some 50,000 missing _ more than what the government has estimated, according to a Roman Catholic Church report.

Official figures say 130,000 to 140,000 people were killed in the conflict that started in 1961. The government has provided no figures on missing persons. The war ended with peace accords signed on Dec. 29, 1996, by leftist guerrillas and the government.

The report, drawn up by the church's human-rights agencies, was part of the peace accords that said aspects of the conflict should be investigated to determine the truth for historical purposes. It was compiled with the help of 600 human rights volunteers who spent two years interviewing hundreds of people in Guatemala's 10 diocese. The report said the conflict left 40,000 women widowed and 200,000 children orphaned.

Second Catholic man slain

BELFAST, Northern Ireland _ Police arrested two Protestant militants Saturday after a Catholic man was shot fatally through the head, the second such sectarian killing this week in Northern Ireland.

Ciaran Heffron, a 22-year-old university student, was killed as he walked home alone after midnight from a pub in the town of Crumlin, 10 miles west of Belfast. A taxi driver found his body dumped outside a railway station.

On Friday, Catholics in Portadown buried 29-year-old Adrian Lamph, fatally shot at his workplace Tuesday.

Both unclaimed killings are being blamed on pro-British Protestants opposed to the proposed peace accord for Northern Ireland, which was struck April 10 among eight parties and the British and Irish governments.

The Crumlin slaying came hours after about 1,200 Protestant diehards rallied against the accord, which they fear will lead to the eventual demise of Northern Ireland as a Protestant-majority state.

King considers pardon for nurses

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia _ The families of Deborah Parry and Lucille McLauchlan, two British nurses convicted in the murder of Australian colleague Yvonne Gilford, have appealed to King Fahd for a pardon, newspapers reported Saturday. The nurses have been jailed in the eastern Saudi city of Damman since their arrest in December 1996.

Ghazi al-Gosaibi, Saudi ambassador to England, said the king is considering the families' appeal "with compassion," according to the al-Riyadh newspaper.

Parry, 39, was convicted of fatally stabbing Gilford but escaped beheading when Gilford's brother waived his right to demand the death penalty. She is awaiting sentencing.

McLauchlan, 32, was found guilty of being an accessory and sentenced to eight years in prison and 500 lashes, which have not yet been administered.