World briefs 3/10/04

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Advisory council picks new Haitian prime minister

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's U.S.-backed advisory council picked a former foreign minister as the new prime minister on Tuesday, a step toward forming a transitional government in this troubled nation. Gerard Latortue's appointment came as U.S. Marines said they would help Haitian police disarm the general population. The new program, set to begin later this week, will appeal to rebel groups and supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who have demanded weapons be taken away from their enemies.

Yemen captures militants linked to USS Cole bomb

SAN'A, Yemen -- Four of 32 militants captured in a crackdown by Yemen's security forces are linked to the October 2000 USS Cole bombing that killed 17 American sailors, an official said Tuesday. The four were among 10 suspects who escaped from prison early last year, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The crackdown in the southern mountains led to the arrests of 32 suspects believed to belong to al-Qaida and other militant groups, including the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army and the Yemeni Islamic Jihad.

Suicide attackers storm Masonic lodge in Turkey

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Two suicide attackers stormed a Masonic lodge Tuesday opening fire with automatic weapons and setting off explosions that killed one person and wounded five, officials said. One of the attackers also died and one was injured in the assault, which comes months after four suicide bombings blamed on al-Qaida killed dozens of people in Istanbul. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, said Gov. Muammer Guler.

Gitmo prisoners arrested upon return to England

NORTHOLT, England -- Police arrested four Britons and detained a fifth as they returned to England late Tuesday from more than two years in U.S. military detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The five were among nine Britons whose captivity at the U.S. military prison had proved a sticking point between the warm allies since the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. A Metropolitan Police official said four of the group were arrested under provisions of the Terrorism Act. The fifth was detained by immigration authorities.

Three explosions hit Indian-held Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India -- Suspected Islamic rebels set off three grenades inside a government office in the summer capital of Indian-held Kashmir on Tuesday after wounding two soldiers guarding the building, police said. Both attackers were killed, including one who died in a shootout with troops after the blasts at the office of the state information department in Srinagar. At least two more soldiers were wounded in the gunbattle. A Pakistan-based rebel group claimed responsibility for the attack.

N. Korea rejects U.S. demands on nuke program

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea rejected a key U.S. demand Tuesday for easing nuclear tensions and threatened to link the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea to a settlement, as the communist country tried to bolster its hand ahead of talks on the dispute. Pyongyang dismissed as "unrealistic" the stance by Washington that North Korea verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its atomic weapons programs as a first step in resolving the 17-month standoff, according to the communist country's official KCNA news agency. U.S. insistence that North Korea "completely, verifiably and irreversibly" begin dismantling its nuclear programs before receiving concessions was a key sticking point in last month's six-nation talks aimed at brokering a deal.

-- From wire reports

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