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Thursday Jan. 10, 2002

The Hague, Netherlands

Milosevic obstinate at war crimes tribunal ahead of Kosovo trial

Associated Press

Slobodan Milosevic made a defiant appearance at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal yesterday, dismissing the judges as biased in his last hearing before going on trial for alleged war crimes in Kosovo.

Keeping up his opposition to the U.N. court, Milosevic clashed with presiding Judge Richard May of Britain and said his case was unfair because it was based only on British intelligence and would be presented by a British judge.

The hearing in The Hague, Netherlands, laid the groundwork for Milosevic's first trial, due to start Feb. 12. Prosecutors said they plan to call scores of witnesses and present more than 1,400 exhibits to prove the ousted leader led a Serb onslaught against ethnic Albanians in 1998-1999.

Milosevic was transferred to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, in June 2001 to answer to war crimes allegations for Kosovo.

He is charged in the deaths of nearly 900 Kosovar Albanians, the deportations of 800,000 people and sexual assault by Yugoslav army troops under his command.

Serb forces under Milosevic's control were driven from Kosovo after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia that ended the conflict and led to the toppling of Milosevic's government.

Since Milosevic was handed over to the court, prosecutors have issued two additional indictments against him for alleged crimes in Croatia and Bosnia, including the slaughter of several thousand Muslims in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in 1995.

The court has refused to merge the three cases into a single trial. Prosecutors are appealing that decision.


Macy's security guard loses job after Kansas City's 'Secret Santa' gives him $100

Associated Press

Secret Santa's gift may have backfired.

A security guard at Macy's flagship store at New York City's 34th Street lost his job shortly after receiving $100 from "Secret Santa," a Kansas City-area businessman who hands out cash anonymously at Christmas.

James Frazier, 19, was working when Secret Santa approached him and asked whether he had a family. Frazier said yes, he had a new baby at home.

Secret Santa handed Frazier the money, which he used to buy clothes for his infant son.

But Macy's officials read about the encounter in USA Today, and Frazier soon lost his job.

Macy's spokesman Ronnie Taffet said Frazier wasn't let go because of the gift. Frazier was hired as a temporary seasonal employee, and his term of employment had expired, Taffet said.

However, Frazier did violate company policies by accepting a gratuity while on the job and by speaking to the media, Taffet said.

Taffet said Frazier's personnel file shows he filled out an application for a seasonal job and that he signed the store's employment policies.

"For whatever reason, he was a bit confused," about why he lost his job, Taffet said.

Newsday, a New York newspaper, reported the firing on Saturday. Word of Frazier's situation reached Secret Santa, who told The Kansas City Star he spoke to Frazier by telephone Monday. The newspaper did not identify the Secret Santa.

"I'm not sure what to think," Secret Santa said. "He understood he was on a 90-day probation to be a permanent security guard."

Frazier's home telephone number could not be verified Wednesday.

Secret Santa intends to give Frazier $1,000 to help with bills but wants to remain anonymous.

"I've got to figure this out," he told the Star. "I can't send him a check."


Former award-winning educator arrested on embezzlement charges

Associated Press

A former award-winning educator has been arrested for allegedly embezzling more than $45,000 from a high school here.

Douglas Jackson, 47, turned himself in to police Monday and was charged with one count of fraudulent schemes, one count of felony theft and two counts of possession of stolen property.

Jackson allegedly stole money from Center for Academic Success High School by having the school pay $45,000 for textbooks that were donated by the Mexican government.

He also allegedly overcharged the school after starting a school lunch program and pocketed most of the difference and allegedly overcharged the school for equipment purchased to store and reheat the food.

Jackson, named the top educator in the state in 1999 when he taught at CAS, posted $15,000 bond and was released from custody pending a trial.

No trial date has been set yet.

The investigation into the alleged misuse of funds at CAS began shortly after Jackson was fired from the school last year, police said.



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