the world digest


Kidnapping fears

LONDON — Fears are mounting for the safety of BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston after the pubcaster confirmed it has been unable to contact him amid Palestinian reports that he has been kidnapped. The pubcaster issued a statement saying that it was "concerned" for Johnston's whereabouts after failing to contact him. "We are currently unable to contact him and are concerned for his safety," the BBC said. Palestinian Interior minister Sayeed Sayyam said Johnston's disappearance was "a criminal act," according to wire reports.

Channeling Current

LONDON — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was in London on Monday to unveil "citizen journalism" channel Current TV to U.K. audiences. Speaking at a press launch for the channel, which will air on the Sky Digital and Virgin Media services, Gore said the channel will offer a voice to counter mainstream media. "We want to open up and democratize media," he said. "This is not a political or ideological channel. We like to think of it as far more radical than that." Gore said that the channel is now in more than 50 million homes worldwide.

Trying Berlusconi

ROME — The corruption trial of Italian media tycoon Silvio Ber-lusconi is set to restart today after a series of delays. Though the former Italian prime minister is not expected to appear in court during the first few sessions, the case is nonetheless significant because it could be the first time he has been forced to face a judge to answer char-ges. The latest case alleges that Berlusconi paid British lawyer David Mills some $800,000 to withhold information in connection with a previous trial.