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AFRICAN VULTURE THAT ESCAPED FROM BRITISH ZOO RECAPTURED

The vulture has landed.

Foster, an African vulture whose flight to freedom from an English zoo sparked a media circus, was recaptured Sunday after almost a week on the lam.

Foster, a Ruppell's griffon vulture, flew off during a falconry display at Banham Zoo in Norfolk, England, on Monday. On Friday he was tracked down to the seaside town of Southwold, 70 miles to the south, finally taking up residence atop a Scotch pine in nearby Reydon.

After several failed capture attempts, falconer Jo Lobb succeeded in grabbing Foster by the legs after luring him from his perch with a chicken carcass. The errant bird was quickly wrapped in a blanket and taken away.

For three days, a team of falconers attempted to coax Foster down. As the standoff wore on, television news channels provided frequent updates on Foster's status, and newspapers ran color photos of the imposing bird with its 8-foot wingspan.

The highest-flying bird in the world, the Ruppell's griffon vulture has been recorded at heights of 37,000 feet and speeds of up to 22 mph. It can live up to 40 years.

Milosevic lawyers challenge
legality of U.N. decree

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) -- Slobodan Milosevic's lawyer filed a challenge today with Yugoslavia's Constitutional Court, asserting that a government extradition decree is unconstitutional.

The lawyers were demanding the court block enforcement of the decree, issued Saturday, until it decides whether the measure was illegal. The judges will convene a council to decide whether the challenge has a legal basis.

The U.N. war crimes court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is seeking to try the ex-president for alleged war crimes committed in Kosovo during the 1998-99 war.

The United States and its allies have hailed the Yugoslav government's decision clearing legal obstacles to the extradition of Milosevic and more than a dozen other war crimes suspects sought by The Hague court.

If extradited, Milosevic would be the first former head of state to face a war crimes trial in front of the U.N. court, established in 1992.

Jailed Colombian rebels
blast way out of prison

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Leftist rebels blew a hole in the wall of a high-security prison with dynamite and escaped, leaving five inmates dead and 12 others injured, authorities said Sunday.

The escape began Saturday night when the inmates -- members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC -- blew a hole in the wall of La Picota prison in Bogota and poured through the opening.

Some 100 rebels waiting outside opened fire at prison guards to help their fleeing comrades, said Fabio Campos, the director of the nation's prison system.

Guards shot to death five prisoners and captured 30 others. The number of escaped inmates won't be known until authorities complete a head count of the prison's roughly 1,700 inmates, a prison spokesman said.

La Picota holds some of Colombia's most violent criminals.

Democratic reform party
wins big victory in Japan

TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi survived the first test of his popularity as his fellow party members rode his coattails to victory in Tokyo's municipal election Sunday.

Koizumi, whose public support ratings stand near 90 percent, has been popular with voters since he took office in April with promises to rid politics of its old guard and push reforms that would kick-start Japan's sluggish economy.

His Liberal Democratic Party won 53 seats in the 127-seat Tokyo Assembly, five more than its previous total and exceeding the party's target of 50 seats, said a party spokeswoman on condition of anonymity. All but two of the 55 party candidates won seats.

The victory bodes well for next month's national upper house elections.

"This has given a further push to Koizumi's popularity," said Yoshiaki Iisaka, a professor of political science at Seigakuin University just north of Tokyo.

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