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7 killed, dozens injured in train derailment



Published: Sat, May 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



7 killed, dozens injuredin train derailment

POTTERS BAR, England -- A high-speed train derailed Friday on its way through a station north of London and one car crashed onto the platform, scattering waiting passengers. Seven people were killed in the accident and nine seriously injured, officials said.

At least 45 others suffered less severe injuries, British Transport police said, in this sixth fatal accident since 1997 on Britain's widely criticized rail network.

The northbound London-to-King's Lynn train, carrying 151 people, went off the tracks in Potters Bar, a quiet suburban town 12 miles north of London.

It was thought to have been traveling at 100 mph, the regulation speed on that stretch of track, said Robin Gisbey, spokesman for Railtrack, which is responsible for rail infrastructure.

"All of a sudden I saw this train coming toward the platform. The first thing I did was run," said Andy Perversi, who had been on the platform with as many as 25 people.

The train car came to a halt on the platform, lodged under the station roof.

Thousands mournslain Dutch politician

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Tens of thousands of people bid farewell Friday to slain Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, an astonishing wave of emotion that some commentators believe could propel his leaderless party to victory in next week's national elections.

Five days before the country goes to the polls, mourners lined streets and freeway bridges to throw flowers onto his passing white hearse. His coffin was to remain above ground for public viewing after a small funeral for relatives in the town of Driehuis-Westerveld, 12 miles west of Amsterdam.

The huge turnout lent support to those who predict a sympathy vote will boost his party's strength in elections on May 15.

Although he gained popularity on a platform to bar further immigration, Fortuyn appealed to a wide spectrum of voters, including immigrants. With a raw attack on the established leadership, he single-handedly turned Dutch politics upside-down, bringing politics to the people.

Police have charged a 32-year-old Dutchman with the killing but have not found a motive. Though his name has not been officially released, he has been identified by former colleagues as Volkert van der Graaf, an environmental and animal rights activist.

Woman electrocutedin Ala. for killing officer

ATMORE, Ala. -- A political extremist convicted of murdering a policeman in 1993 was put to death in the electric chair Friday, becoming the first woman executed in Alabama in 45 years.

Lynda Lyon Block declined to pursue final appeals late Thursday, saying the courts were corrupt and lacked jurisdiction in her case. She was put to death shortly after midnight.

Block made no final statement before she was executed.

"She seemed to be somewhat stoic," prison commissioner Mike Haley said. "She displayed no emotion."

Block, 54, may be the last person forced to die in the state's electric chair. Under a law that takes effect this summer, condemned inmates in Alabama will be executed by injection unless they choose the electric chair.

Block and her common-law husband, George Sibley, were sentenced to death for killing Opelika police officer Roger Motley Jr. in a burst of gunfire in a shopping center parking lot. The couple said Motley was reaching for his gun when they shot him.

Sibley is on death row and awaits an execution date.

Suspect in court

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Luke Helder appeared in an Iowa court Friday night to face the first of several charges that could send him to prison for life. He is accused of blowing up mailboxes across the Midwest with pipe bombs.

The 21-year-old college student did not speak during the 10-minute hearing, but nodded as U.S. Magistrate John Jarvey read the criminal complaint against him. He was ordered held in the Linn County Jail without bail.

Helder is charged in Iowa with using a pipe bomb in a crime of violence and destroying property used in interstate commerce -- a mailbox. Six pipe bombs exploded in Iowa and Illinois last week, injuring four letter carriers and two residents.

The judge appointed Jane Kelly, a federal public defender from Cedar Rapids, to represent Helder, and scheduled a preliminary hearing for May 22. Federal prosecutors said they would present evidence to a grand jury later this month seeking an indictment on both counts.

In all, Helder is accused of putting 18 pipe bombs and anti-government letters in mailboxes in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas.

Associated Press




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