PARIS: Seven French doctors have been placed under judicial investigation for alleged poisoning in a scandal involving Aids-contaminated blood in transfusions in 1984 and 1985.The doctors are suspected of knowingly prescribing contaminated blood products to one or more haemophiliacs and thus being responsible for their contracting AIDS.

Artist dies

NEW YORK: Artist Willem de Kooning, a dominant figure in the abstract expressionist movement for many years, has died at East Hmpton, New York, aged 92. The Dutch-born painter, who had lived in the United States since the 1920s, influenced many artists of the New York School that came to prominence after the Second World World War.

Producer dies

PARIS: Film producer Alexander Salkind, who, with his son Ilya, made the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, has died in the American Hospital in Paris. He was 75.

Clinton tour

JOHANNESBURG: US first lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea, visiting South Africa, toured a construction site where homeless women were building concrete houses.

Red Mafia

NEW YORK: Nearly half the Russian economy is controlled by organised criminals and billions of dollars are haemorrhaging out of Russia as a result, according to a US study published by the World Bank newsletter Transition.

Union protest

GDANSK: The Solidarity trade union plunged into Poland-wide protests to defend the Gdansk shipyard and other failing firms, holding demonstrations in the northern port city and occupying three Warsaw ministries.

Farmers' action

BERNE: More than 2000 Swiss farmers launched legal action against the federal government seeking compensation from Berne for financial losses stemming from the ''mad cow disease'' crisis. The groups are demanding #15m.