World briefs 3/28/06

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Christian convert released from prison

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan man who faced execution for converting from Islam to Christianity has been released from prison in Kabul, the deputy attorney general said early today. Abdul Rahman was released from the high-security Policharki prison on the outskirts of Kabul late Monday night, deputy attorney general Mohammed Eshak Aloko told The Associated Press. "We issued a letter saying he was mentally unfit to stand trial, so he has been released," he said. "I don't know where he is now." Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after police discovered him with a Bible. He was put on trial last week for converting 16 years ago while he was a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He had faced the death penalty under Afghanistan's Islamic laws.

Preacher's wife makes first court appearance

SELMER, Tenn. -- A minister's wife shuffled into court in an orange jail uniform Monday and was arraigned on charges she killed her husband. Mary Winkler, 32, wore shackles and clutched her attorney's hand as she was escorted into the courtroom. She did not enter a plea. Her only words were "no sir" when the judge asked if she had any questions after he read the complaint against her and explained her rights. Winkler is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband, Matthew Winkler, minister at Fourth Street Church of Christ in this small town 80 miles east of Memphis. Authorities have said Mary Winkler confessed to killing her husband on Wednesday and then leaving town with their three young daughters, though officials have not suggested a motive for the attack. The minister was found dead that night in the church parsonage.

Police: Seattle gunman said 'plenty for everyone'

SEATTLE -- The young man who killed six people at a house party over the weekend had brought three guns, more than 300 rounds of ammunition, a baseball bat and a black machete, and told guests as he blazed away, "There's plenty for everyone," authorities said Monday. Aaron Kyle Huff, 28, was "clearly intent on doing homicidal mayhem," deputy police chief Clark Kimerer said. However, investigators still have no idea why, he said. Huff committed suicide when confronted by an officer outside the house early Saturday. The King County medical examiner released names of the dead Monday: Melissa Lynn Moore, 14; Suzanne Thorne, 15; Christopher Williamson, 21; Justin Schwartz, 22; Jason Travers, 32; and Jeremy Martin, 26.

Sleep-deprived teens dozing off at school

WASHINGTON -- America is raising a nation of sleep-deprived children, with only 20 percent getting the recommended nine hours of shuteye on school nights and more than one in four reporting dozing off in class. Many are arriving late to school because of oversleeping and others are driving drowsy, according to a poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation. School-age children and teenagers should get at least nine hours of sleep a day, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health. The poll found that sixth-graders were sleeping an average of 8.4 hours on school nights and 12th-graders just 6.9 hours.

Brazil's finance minister resigns amid scandal

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, the architect of Brazil's economic recovery and market-friendly fiscal policy, resigned Monday after becoming caught up in a political scandal. Palocci sent a resignation letter Monday evening to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Silva accepted the resignation, said presidential spokesman Carlos Villanova. Silva tapped former Planning and Budget minister Guido Mantega to replace Palocci as head of the Finance Ministry. Palocci faces accusations he frequented a house in Brasilia where lobbyists held parties with prostitutes and money arrived by the suitcase, possibly for political payoffs. He denies the accusations.

-- From wire reports

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