World briefs 14A

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Iranian detainee drops out of U.S. military hearing

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba -- An Iranian detainee boycotted a U.S. military review hearing, the sixth prisoner to stay away from the proceeding to determine whether hundreds of Guantanamo Bay prisoners are being properly held or should be set free. In his absence, Friday's open tribunal hearing lasted 13 minutes. "He dropped out," said an Air Force lieutenant colonel of the 25-year-old Iranian, who according to the U.S. military was a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. The detainee relayed his decision through an officer assigned as his "personal representative." "He said, 'I don't want to participate anymore,"' said the officer, whose identity was barred from being made public. The officer said the Iranian did not give a reason.

Iran denies providing N. Korea missile test site

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran on Saturday dismissed allegations it was providing test sites for North Korean long-range missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. A Bush administration official claimed earlier that North Korea was getting around a self-imposed missile test ban by sharing technology information with Iran, which is allegedly carrying out missile tests on Pyongyang's behalf. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani rejected the claim, saying, "Iran does not cooperate with North Korea in missile technology and it does not need to." While Shamkhani denied any kind of nuclear military activity by Iran, he said his country would not leave its people without defense. "That's why we have to invest on nuclear defense preparation," he added without elaborating.

Flooding death toll across South Asia rises to 1,972

NEW DELHI -- A flood-swollen river was overflowing a major Indian dam, threatening villages as 41 more deaths were reported across South Asia, taking the death toll to 1,972 in a season of rain destruction. Twenty-nine people died during the past 24 hours in the badly affected Bharuch district in India's western Gujarat state, officials at the local police control room said. The Narmada River dam, one of the largest such projects in India, was overflowing by more than 13 feet, said S.K.Mahapatra, the dam's administrator. Thirty villages have been put on alert for emergency evacuation, he said.

Survivors tell of mass killings in Ivory Coast

KORHOGO, Ivory Coast -- One man, Siaka, survived inside the airless, sweltering shipping container by gasping for air through a small hole. Dozens of others, packed too tightly to move or even breathe, suffocated and died, he said, backing accounts of atrocities during factional fighting in Ivory Coast's rebel-held north. The account from Siaka and another survivor, along with reports of numerous missing men, support U.N. and Amnesty International findings on three newly discovered mass graves in rebel territory. The graves hold a total of 99 bodies, some of whom suffocated, the United Nations says. The allegations are the most serious charges of rights abuses lodged against Ivory Coast's rebels since they took control of the north in a nine-month civil war, which officially ended in July 2003.

-- From wire reports

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