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Latin America on alert for al-Qaida recruiting

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Governments throughout Mexico and Central America are on alert as evidence grows that al-Qaida members are traveling in the region and looking for recruits to carry out attacks in Latin America -- the potential last frontier for international terrorism. The territory could be a perfect staging ground for Osama bin Laden's militants, with homegrown rebel groups, drug and people smugglers, and corrupt governments. U.S. officials have long feared al-Qaida could launch an attack from south of the border, and they have been paying closer attention as the number of terror-related incidents has increased since last year.

Military decides not to free 'enemy combatants'

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba -- U.S. military review panels have decided not to release 10 Guantanamo Bay detainees, concluding they were properly classified as "enemy combatants," a military official said Saturday. The decision brought to 14 the number of cases decided by the panels, said a spokeswoman at the Pentagon. The panels decided to hold all 14. The military so far has reviewed the cases of 31 detainees, including that of a 30-year-old prisoner on Saturday who allegedly served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. All 585 Guantanamo detainees are accused of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban regime.

Blasts rock opposition rally in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A series of bombs exploded as a top Bangladeshi opposition leader was speaking at a rally from atop a truck Saturday, killing at least 14 people and injuring hundreds, witnesses and news reports said. The main opposition leader, Sheikh Hasina, crouched low in the truck soon after the first blast occurred as she was addressing thousands outside her Awami League party's headquarters in central Dhaka. She was visibly shaken but not hurt. At least 14 people were killed and more than 300 injured, including senior opposition members, United News of Bangladesh reported.

Protesters greet U.S. aircraft carrier in Japan

TOKYO -- Boatloads of Japanese protesters met the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as it pulled into port in southern Japan on Saturday. About a dozen boats were filled with demonstrators at Sasebo port, while others on the dock punched their fists into the air and chanted. Japan is the only country ever to have suffered an atomic attack -- the World War II bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- and there are strong concerns about the military use of atomic energy, and port calls by U.S. nuclear-powered vessels.

-- From wire reports


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