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Nation & World Briefly

Mladic could be extradited to face war crimes trial

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Ratko Mladic is eating strawberries and receiving family visits in a Serbian jail, but as early as Monday the ex-general could be on his way to face a war-crimes tribunal in The Hague, possibly joining his former ally Radovan Karadzic on trial for some of the worst horrors of the Balkan wars.

The former Bosnian Serb army commander known for his cruelty and arrogance began issuing demands from behind bars Friday, calling for a TV set and Tolstoy novels, and regaining some of his trademark hubris after a pre-dawn raid in a Serbian village the day before ended his 16 years on the run.

Now a disheveled old man, his family claim he’s too ill to stand up to the rigors of a genocide trial and that he’s not guilty of crimes including his alleged role in the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, the massacre that left 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Srebrenica enclave in Bosnia dead.

Serbia’s war crimes court ruled that te 69-year-old is fit to stand trial and that conditions have been met for him to be handed over to the U.N. tribunal in The Hague. A defense lawyer said Mladic would appeal the decision on Monday. The former fugitive could be extradited within hours if that appeal is rejected.

His defense is demanding that an “independent medical commission” examine Mladic – preferably one from Russia, a historical friend of the Serbs. Instead the government dispatched the health minister, a former friend, who deemed him stable.

Faulty readings, no captain in cockpit at start of emergency in 2009 Air France crash

PARIS (AP) – Confronted with faulty instrument readings and alarms going off in the cockpit, the pilots of an Air France jetliner struggled to tame the aircraft as it went into an aerodynamic stall, rolled, and finally plunged 38,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean in just 3 1/2 minutes.

But the passengers on that doomed Rio de Janeiro-to-Paris flight were probably asleep or nodding off and didn’t realize what was going on as the aircraft fell nose-up toward the sea, the director of the French accident investigating bureau said after releasing preliminary black-box data on the June 1, 2009, disaster.

All 228 people aboard the Airbus A330 died.

The brief, highly technical report by the BEA contains only selective remarks from the cockpit recorder, offers no analysis and assigns no blame. It also does not answer the key question: What caused the crash?

But several experts familiar with the report said the co-pilot at the controls, at 32 the youngest of the three-man cockpit crew, Cedric Bonin, may have responded incorrectly to the emergency by pointing the nose upward, perhaps because he was confused by the incorrect readings.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry considers run for president

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – After months of resisting calls to join the race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he would consider seeking the Republican presidential nomination, potentially reshaping the GOP field.

At the same time, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is heading to New Hampshire next week, further stirring speculation that he will jump into the still-gelling field of GOP candidates to take on President Barack Obama.

Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, would bring conservative bona fides, a proven fundraising record and a fresh voice to the field. Even as Perry’s closest advisers say he has no intention of getting in the race, he has methodically raised his profile, fanning interest.

“I’m going to think about it,” Perry said Friday. “I think about a lot of things.”

That was enough to set off speculation Perry would jump into a campaign that lacks a clear front-runner.