Mon, Dec 22, 2003 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

Translator charges dropped

The US military has dropped three charges against a U.S. Air Force translator who worked at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp that holds al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects, but six charges, including espionage, remain in place, a military spokesman said on Saturday. Senior Airman Ahmad al Halabi of Detroit, Michigan, was arrested on July 23 and accused of carrying jail maps, letters and other sensitive documents away from Guantanamo.

■ Guinea

President to win election

Guinea's longtime leader Lansana Conte was easily expected to win another term as president yesterday, after opposition parties boycotted the balloting, leaving a little-known parliamentarian as the only challenger for the post. Opposition leaders pulled out of the race last month, accusing Conte of plotting to rig the poll. Conte's government has denied the allegations. Conte's only opponent was Mamadou Bhoye Barry, the sole representative in parliament of the Union for National Progress, a party loosely allied with Conte's ruling Party for Unity and Progress.

■ Saudi Arabia

US sailors seize drugs

US sailors seized drugs with a minimum street value of US$3 million in the North Arabian Sea on Saturday, with the crew of an Arab sailing boat throwing bags of suspected drugs overboard as the Navy bore down on it, the US Navy 5th Fleet said. US sailors from the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea boarded two dhows, or Arab sailing boats, at dawn and detained 21 crew, the 5th Fleet said in a statement issued from its headquarters in Bahrain. A US Navy aircraft filmed the crew of one dhow throwing approximately 200 bags of suspected drugs overboard as it "attempted to outrun the interception forces," the statement said.

■ Italy

Leftist group raided

Police raided an alleged hideout of the radical leftist Red Brigades terrorist group on Saturday, finding a huge cache of explosives weeks after major sweeps that picked up nine people linked to the notorious organization. Authorities believe that the basement near Rome's Termini train station in central Rome had been used by Red Brigades members who have since been arrested, the ANSA news agency said. Police made no arrests on Saturday. Some 100kg of explosives were found, as well as detonators, floppy disks and Red Brigades documents, ANSA said.

■ Vatican City

Austrian miracle recognized

The Vatican on Saturday recognized a miracle performed by Charles, the last emperor of Austria and a relative of the colorful 19th-century empress "Sissi," officially setting him on the path to beatification. Beatification, in which a person is declared blessed, is a key step towards sainthood, itself attained following the Roman Catholic Church's approval of two miracles. Charles sat on the throne of the now-defunct Austro-Hungarian empire between 1916 and 1918. "He served his people with justice and charity. He sought peace, helped the poor, cultivated a spiritual life," said the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It gave no details on the miracle attributed to him.

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