■ United States
Landlord tried to off tenants
A Queens landlord was found guilty on Tuesday of trying to plot the murder of two tenants paying US$400 a month for an apartment in his building, so that he could rent out their apartment to new tenants for at least US$1,500 a month. A jury in state Supreme Court in Queens found the landlord, Juan Basagoitia, 50, guilty of hiring two other tenants in the building to kill William Lavery, 35, and his brother, David Lavery, 40, who had lived in the three-bedroom apartment on the third floor since childhood. The brothers, who were badly injured in the attack but survived, legally assumed the lease in recent years from their father, George Lavery, who first took the apartment in 1964 at the same rent.
Deserter in refugee case
An American seeking to become the first US soldier granted refugee status in Canada after refusing to serve in Iraq told immigration officials Tuesday that the Army was drilling its soldiers to think of all Arabs and Muslims as potential terrorists. "We were being told that it was a new kind of war, that these were evil people and they had to be dealt with," Private First Class Jeremy Hinzman, 26, told the Immigration and Refugee Board on the second of his three-day hearing for political asylum. Hinzman, who fled from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Jan. 2, now lives in Toronto with his wife and 2-year-old son. He is arguing that the war in Iraq is illegal and fighting in it would have made him a war criminal.
■ United States
Man requests execution
A man accused of stabbing two boys to death and attacking their mother and sister pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and asked a judge to sentence him to death. "For what I did to the Marksberrys, my death is some way of redemption to them," Marco Allen Chapman said Tuesday. "My life has never been worth much, I'll give it freely to them." Attorneys said it is not known how many people have pleaded guilty to a capital offense and asked for a death sentence. They said Chapman's guilty plea and request for a death sentence are unusual, but not without precedent.
Saboteurs topple tower
Authorities on Tuesday sought self-styled international saboteurs who toppled a tower carrying electrical lines from Hydro-Quebec to the neighboring US city of Boston. A previously unknown group, the Initiative for Internationalist Resistance took credit for what it called an "act of sabotage" in an e-mail to local and foreign media over the weekend. The group did not manage to cut power. The damage was discovered on Thursday by a hunter near the US border. The group said the attack coincided with a visit by "the dictator in chief" to Canada, apparently alluding to US President George W. Bush's visit last week.