AFRICA

U.S. Fugitive Ready to Return

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- A former member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, who was arrested in South Africa last week after 27 years on the run, is willing to return to California to face murder charges, his lawyer said yesterday.

James Kilgore had been negotiating for more than six months to stand trial in the United States and did not object to returning.

"My client wants to go back to the United States sooner rather than later, but it must be in terms of a documented [extradition] request," Kilgore's lawyer, Anton Katz, said in court.

The comments came during a chaotic day for Kilgore, 55, who was charged in a 1975 California bank robbery in which a woman was killed.

After a brief hearing, a judge ordered Kilgore freed pending a formal U.S. extradition request. But police immediately rearrested him for violating immigration laws.

Kilgore, who is married and has two children, entered South Africa seven years ago under a false name and lived a quiet suburban life, working as a researcher at the University of Cape Town until his Nov. 8 arrest at home.

In the first hearing yesterday, Magistrate Hafisa Mohamed said that it was illegal for Kilgore to be detained while the U.S. government prepared an extradition request and that the United States had not applied for him to remain in custody in the interim.

U.S. officials, who previously said it would take at least three weeks for the extradition request to be written, declined to comment.

But when Kilgore was released, police rearrested him on charges of lying to immigration authorities and entering the country under a false name.

At a hastily arranged bail hearing, Magistrate George Claasen ordered Kilgore jailed until a Monday hearing. Katz accused South African authorities of "an abuse of power" for using the immigration offenses to keep Kilgore in custody.

Associated Press

ASIA

100 Die in Nepalese Fighting

KATMANDU, Nepal -- More than 100 people died in fighting between communist rebels and government troops in two remote villages here, the Defense Ministry said.

A Defense Ministry statement said 56 policemen, four soldiers, three civilians and at least 55 rebels were killed in the two clashes, which came just hours after a government official said the government was trying to resume peace talks with the rebels fighting to abolish Nepal's monarchy.

The rebels rarely comment on their military operations, and human rights groups seldom are able to reach battle sites to confirm government claims.

The insurgency has killed more than 7,000 people, most of them after Nepal's king imposed a state of emergency in November 2001 and ordered the army to join the police in fighting the rebels.

Associated Press

THE MIDDLE EAST

Iranians Call for Scholar's Death

TEHRAN -- About 1,000 supporters of Iran's hard-line clerics took to the streets calling for the execution of a reformist scholar convicted of insulting Islam.

The death sentence handed to Hashem Aghajari, a history professor who challenged the ruling clerics' interpretation of Islam, has touched off the biggest protests in Tehran in three years, with thousands of university students demanding the reversal of the decision.

His case has heightened tensions in the power struggle between reformists who seek more social and political freedoms and Islamic hard-liners, who control the police and judiciary and the strongest levers of power in Iran.

Hossein Allahkaram, leader of the hard-line group Ansar-e-Hezbollah that led the demonstration, said Aghajari had renounced his religious faith and deserved death.

"He insulted the principles of our religion and must be hanged," he said.

Associated Press

THE AMERICAS

Colombian Clergymen Rescued

BOGOTA, Colombia -- The Colombian army rescued a Roman Catholic bishop and a priest four days after they were kidnapped by rebels in what the government hailed as a major victory for its tough new security policies.

Specialist anti-guerrilla troops pounced on a group of suspected FARC rebels and rescued Monsignor Jorge Enrique Jimenez and the Rev. Desiderio Orjuela, near where they were kidnapped Monday in the Andean mountains outside the capital, Bogota, Defense Minister Martha Lucia Ramirez said.

The army reported no casualties on either side, but said combat was continuing.

Reuters

FOR THE RECORD

The Vatican has officially given Emmanuel Milingo, the African Roman Catholic archbishop who last year married in the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, permission to return to his duties. He subsequently rejected the marriage on Pope John Paul II's request.