■ United StatesSurfer averts shark attack
A surfer who was bumped off his board by a shark was able to push the animal away and paddle back to shore. Brian Kang, 38, was 182m offshore Thursday, waiting for a wave in a popular surfing area near Eureka, when the shark knocked him into the water. The shark came back toward him as he tried to climb back onto the surfboard. "It just came out of the blue," Kang said from his hospital bed, where he was being treated for gashes on his hip, knees and thumb. "I pushed it away with my hands." Kang said he never got a good look at the shark, but another surfer spotted a 1m dorsal fin, which would indicate a great white shark.
A Pakistani was charged in Spain Saturday with financing a terrorist organization and remanded in custody, court officials said. The man, whose identity has not been disclosed, was charged with "cooperating with an armed band to finance a terrorist organization." He was remanded in custody after appearing before Madrid examining magistrate Ismael Moreno, who is conducting investigations into a suspected Islamic extremist cell discovered in September in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona. The man charged is suspected of having laundered money for an extremist group, legal officials said.
■ United Kingdom
Conservative politician fired
A spokesman for Conservative Party leader Michael Howard said Boris Johnson, A prominent politician and journalist, had been sacked as the party's vice-chairman and arts spokesman because of articles about his alleged extramarital affair that were due to run yesterday's newspapers. Johnson, 40, appears frequently on television and also edits the weekly Spectator magazine. Relations between Johnson and Howard were strained last month after the Spectator ran an editorial by Johnson criticizing the "extreme reaction" of people in Liverpool to the beheading Ken Bigley, a local man kidnapped in Iraq.
Thief dupes police officers
A swindler posing as the owner of a jewelry store outside Paris managed to steal a set of luxury pens and watches with the unwitting help of local police and a locksmith, police said on Saturday. Claiming to be the owner of a jewelry store a few blocks away, a 30-year-old man called in at the police station in Enghien-les-Bains, a small town northwest of Paris, at around midnight on Saturday last week. The man, identified only as Yves, told the officers he had lost his keys and needed their help to get into the shop. They kindly obliged, calling in a locksmith to pry open the door.
■ United States
Bogus `W' bill fools woman
A case of funny money has ended happily for a woman who had been charged with passing a bogus US$200 bill with President George W. Bush's picture on it. Prosecutors dropped all charges Friday against Deborah Trautwine, 51, after she paid the store in real currency. Trautwine "wasn't aware that it ... wasn't actual legal tender," her attorney said. A clerk at a Fashion Bug clothing store also thought the bill was real and gave Trautwine US$100.58 in change from her August purchase. There is no US$200 denomination bill, even without Bush's picture on it.
■ IraqGovernment official killed
Gunmen have ambushed and killed a senior official of the Iraqi Communist Party in northern Iraq, a colleague said. Four cars followed Waddah Hassan Abdel Amir, a member of Iraq's provisional national assembly and two of his aides, from the city of Khalis and attacked them on Saturday evening on the road to Arbil, Kurdistan Communist Party official Ali Zanka said. He said several others were hurt in a car crash caused by the attack. Insurgents bent on under-mining Iraq's American-backed interim government have carried out a campaign of assassinations against public officials they see as collaborating with the US occupation of the country.