World briefs 7/6/05

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Explosion tears through police post in Dagestan

MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- An explosion tore through a police post in the southern Russian region of Dagestan Tuesday, killing at least one officer and wounding three, a regional police spokeswoman said. The blast took place in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, said Marina Riasulova, a spokeswoman for the regional Interior Ministry.

Paramilitary police smash homes in Harare

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Armed paramilitary police swept through a Harare township, pulling down more 100 prefabricated wooden cabins, including one with screaming children inside, witnesses and opposition activists said Tuesday. Monday's raid took place despite promises that police are winding down Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, a so-called urban renewal drive that has destroyed the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans. Police could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Two Islamic militants sentenced to death

RABAT, Morocco -- Two men arrested in a sweep to dismantle militant Islamic networks following suicide bombings in Casablanca have been sentenced to death, judicial officials said Tuesday. The Moroccan court that sentenced Taoufik Hanouichi and Mohcine Bouarfa to death also jailed dozens of others in the trial of 46 suspected Islamic militants.

Largest church abuse settlement approved

BURLINGTON, Ky. -- A judge granted preliminary approval Tuesday to the nation's largest settlement in the church abuse scandal, authorizing a $120 million agreement between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and hundreds of victims of child-molesting priests and other employees. The decision by Judge John W. Potter makes immediately available $40 million from diocese assets. The victims and the diocese are suing two insurance companies for the remaining $80 million. Potter's ruling allows the church and the plaintiffs' lawyers to begin advertising the settlement and sets a Nov. 10 deadline for claims to be filed.

Japan's lower house approves postal reform

TOKYO -- Japan's lower house of parliament narrowly approved legislation to create the world's largest bank -- surpassing both America's Citigroup Inc. and a Japanese contender expected to briefly hold the title after a merger. The bank will emerge from the privatization of Japan's sprawling postal service, which offers savings accounts popular with a population that loves to save. State-run Japan Post controls $3 trillion in savings and insurance deposits.

Mother of missing teen asks for denial of asylum

ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- The mother of a U.S. teen who disappeared in Aruba made a tearful plea Tuesday for countries to deny asylum to two brothers she accused of a violent crime against her daughter after a court released them from jail. A judge on Monday ordered the release of brothers Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, saying there was not sufficient evidence to continue holding them. Prosecutors may appeal the decision to release the brothers within a few days.

Militants storm Hindu shrine in India

LUCKNOW, India -- Militants blew up a security wall with a car bomb and stormed a Hindu shrine at the heart of India's biggest religious controversy Tuesday, triggering a gunbattle in which security forces killed five attackers. Police also found the torn body of a sixth man, who was believed to be the suicide bomber, said Jyoti Sinha, chief of the paramilitary force that guards the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi temple complex. Hindu nationalists blamed Pakistan-based Muslim militants for the first major attack on a Hindu temple site since 2002. Police didn't blame any group.

--From wire reports

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