World briefs 12/9/03

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

U.S. launches talks on troop realignment

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The United States briefed NATO allies Monday on plans for an overhaul of American forces in Europe that may see tens of thousands of troops transferred from Cold War-era bases in Germany to new bases closer to potential trouble spots. U.S. officials have previously said troops will be shifted to smaller, lightly equipped centers ready for rapid deployment to places like the Middle East, the Balkans or Central Asia.

U.S. soldier, Iraqi policeman killed

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Insurgents shot and killed a U.S. soldier guarding a gas station Monday in northern Iraq, and an Iraqi policeman died trying to defuse a bomb, the U.S. military said. The attack on the soldier from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division took place in Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said in Baghdad. Hours after the killing, three U.S. soldiers in Mosul were wounded when a bomb exploded as their patrol passed.

Former Doors pay homage to Jim Morrison

PARIS -- Jim Morrison's former band mates burned candles, a rose and a poem at his grave in Paris on Monday, a tribute to the "Light My Fire" singer and cult figure on what would have been his 60th birthday. "We're trying to evoke the spirit of Jim," Robby Krieger, former guitarist for The Doors, told dozens of fans kept behind police barriers. Many held white candles and old album covers. Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment on July 3, 1971, at age 27.

Ex-Nicaraguan president laundered federal funds

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Former President Arnoldo Aleman, dogged by corruption allegations for years, was convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from his impoverished country and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Aleman, a conservative who returned from exile under the leftist Sandinistas to rebuild Nicaragua's ruling party, was also barred from serving in Nicaragua's legislature and fined $10 million. The decision will almost certainly weaken Aleman's grip over the ruling Constitutionalist Liberal Party, where his authority has endured despite the charges he illegally diverted some $100 million in government funds to his party's election campaigns while president from 1997 to 2002.

Missiles with 'dirty bomb' warheads missing

CHISINAU, Moldova -- Dozens of rockets outfitted with so-called dirty bombs -- warheads designed to scatter deadly radioactive material -- appear to be missing in a breakaway region of Moldova, an expert said Monday. Oazu Nantoi, a political analyst who works at the nongovernmental Institute for Policy Studies in Chisinau, said he had seen photocopies of Russian military documents showing that the dirty bomb warheads -- 24 ready to use, 14 dismantled -- were missing from a storage depot near the Trans-Dniester Tiraspol military airport.

Toronto theater wall collapses into school

TORONTO -- A wall of a Toronto theater that was being demolished collapsed and hit a school next door Monday, killing one man, trapping at least one other person and injuring more than a dozen, authorities said. The incident happened at the historic Uptown Theater and the Yorkville English Academy, which teaches English mostly to adults and teenagers.

Greek court convicts members of terror group

ATHENS, Greece -- A Greek anti-terrorism court on Monday convicted 15 members of the November 17 terrorist cell, including its leader and chief hit man, for their roles in a nearly 30-year killing spree that claimed U.S. and British diplomats, among others. The rulings bring to a close one of the last trials in Europe against militant groups that took shape during the 1970s. The crackdown on November 17 was relief to authorities planning security for the Aug. 13-29 Olympics.

-- From wire reports

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