Sri Lanka, Tamil rebels agree to review cease-fire

Saturday, August 20, 2005

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels agreed Friday to meet in coming weeks to review a cease-fire that has been threatened by a rash of killings, including the assassination of the foreign minister. The meetings will be the first formal sessions between the sides in more than two years. Peace negotiations remain stalled, and the prospects for reviving them as uncertain after the Aug. 12 assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by suspected rebels. Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen said Friday the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam had agreed to hold the talks in the coming weeks. The exact timing and venue were still being worked out.

China detains American for allegedly spying

BEIJING -- China has detained an American on suspicion of spying for Beijing's archrival, Taiwan, the U.S. Embassy said Friday. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Xie Chunren -- a Chinese-born American citizen -- has been under house arrest since May 31, suspected of "activities harmful to state security." The ministry did not elaborate. A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said Xie had been detained "under suspicion of espionage for Taiwan."

Priest, five others charged with murder of bishop

NAIROBI, Kenya -- A Kenyan priest and five other people were charged Friday with murdering a Roman Catholic bishop in a plot to control church funds. Luigi Locati, the Italian-born bishop of the Isiolo Diocese, was gunned down July 14 while walking with a guard to his house in an impoverished area of central Kenya where he had worked for decades. Court documents allege that the Rev. Guyo Wako Malley wanted to kill the 77-year-old Locati to ensure that funds coming to the diocese passed through his office rather than the bishop's. Senior State Counsel Jacob Ondari charged Malley and the others with murder. All six pleaded not guilty.

Pope Benedict XVI visits synagogue in Germany

COLOGNE, Germany -- German-born Pope Benedict XVI on Friday became the second pope to visit a synagogue, entering to the haunting tones of a ram's horn, praying before a Holocaust memorial and lamenting a rise in anti-Semitism. The hourlong stop, for which Cologne's Jews stood and applauded, was filled with significance for the 78-year-old Benedict, who grew up in Nazi Germany. He called those times "the darkest period of German and European history." He made no mention of his own trials, when he was enrolled in the Hitler Youth as a teenager and later deserted from the German army near the end of the war.

-- From wire reports

Khamenei: Iran won't build atomic bomb

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran does not intend to build nuclear weapons, but it will continue to enrich uranium because it does not want to be dependent on others for its nuclear fuel needs, the country's supreme ruler said Friday. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told tens of thousands of worshippers at Tehran University that Western allegations his country is secretly trying to make weapons are "a propaganda trick to deceive their own public opinion." Tehran wants to enrich uranium to low levels to use in reactors that will generate electricity, he said.

U.S. Marine, Afghan soldier killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A U.S. Marine and an Afghan soldier were killed during battles with militants in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Friday. Four other Afghan soldiers were wounded in Thursday's clash in Kunar province. The forces were conducting operations ahead of next month's legislative elections, which Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt. Two U.S. soldiers also were killed Thursday when a homemade bomb hit an American convoy supporting crews improving a road from the main southern city of Kandahar to outlying mountains. Two other soldiers were wounded, the military said in a statement.

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