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Nation/world digest 02/07/06

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Moussaoui tossed from sentencing trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Proclaiming "I am al-Qaida," terrorist conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui disrupted the opening of his sentencing trial Monday and was tossed out of court as selection began for the jurors. He disavowed his attorneys and pledged to testify on his own behalf in the trial that is to begin March 6. After jury selection, expected to take a month, a penalty trial will determine whether the 37-year-old, the only person in the United States charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will be put to death or sentenced to life in prison.

Royal Caribbean orders largest passenger ship

MIAMI -- Royal Caribbean International on Monday ordered the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship, a $1.24 billion vessel that will hold up to 6,400 passengers. The ship, dubbed Project Genesis, will be 220,000 gross registered tons when it is delivered to the world's second-largest cruise operator in fall 2009 by Oslo, Norway-based shipbuilder Aker Yards. Gross registered tons is a standard way to measure a ship's size and is a unit of volume equal to about 100 cubic feet. The ship will weigh about 100,000 tons based on displacement -- a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier comes in at about 97,000 tons.

Iran tells atomic agency to remove cameras, seals

VIENNA, Austria -- Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove surveillance cameras and agency seals from sites and nuclear equipment by the end of next week in response to referral to the U.N. Security Council, the agency said Monday. Iran's demands came two days after the IAEA reported Tehran to the council over its disputed atomic program. A diplomat close to the Vienna-based IAEA told the AP that Iran had also moved forward on another threat -- formally setting a date for resuming full-scale work on its uranium enrichment program. Iran says it wants to make fuel through enrichment, but the activity can also generate the nuclear core of warheads. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, refused to divulge the date.

Egypt pressures Hamas to moderate views

CAIRO, Egypt -- Top Hamas leaders tried to find a formula for a new Palestinian government in talks Monday with Egyptian officials, who stepped up pressure on the militant Islamic group to recognize Israel and renounce violence. A top Hamas official said the group would, for now, abide by past agreements that Palestinian leaders made with Israel -- but would not recognize the Jewish state. Hamas' contradictory stance -- those agreements include recognition -- reflected its strained attempts to win the support of regional powerhouse Egypt, which signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979, and persuade Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to bring his more moderate Fatah party into a coalition government.

Mules deliver ballots on eve of Haiti elections

GONAIVES, Haiti -- Mules laden with sacks of ballots were led into Haiti's countryside Monday to reach a remote village on the eve of elections aimed at putting Haiti's experiment with democracy back on track. Hours before polls open today, thousands of U.N. peacekeepers fanned out to guard against attacks by heavily armed gangs, some of them loyal to Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the president ousted in a rebellion two years ago. Authorities on Monday urged Haitians to turn out in large numbers to vote, and rejected the possibility that fraud could taint the results.

-- From wire reports

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