Karzai Vows to Build

A National Army

BERLIN -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai reiterated to an aid conference in Germany yesterday that his government plans to build a national army of up to 70,000 troops to help extend his government's control over the country.

At a one-day international meeting in a Bonn suburb where a post-Taliban government was agreed to by four Afghan factions a year ago, Karzai said his government had issued a decree in the capital, Kabul, to ban private armies and disarm militias controlled by warlords in the next 12 months.

But the difficulty of implementing such a decision was underscored in recent days as warlords clashed in western Afghanistan, leaving at least 12 people dead and injuring dozens.

Peter Finn

Cambodian Leader Wants 10 More Years

KAMPONG TRAM, Cambodia -- Prime Minister Hun Sen declared that he wants to be in power for at least 10 more years, gearing up to keep his grip on power in upcoming elections.

"Remaining in office for another two terms will make me 60 years old, but that is not too old," Hun Sen said at a ceremony to inaugurate a bridge 25 miles west of the capital, Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen, 51, has held or shared the premiership since 1985.

Associated Press


EU to Ban Ads Promoting Tobacco

BRUSSELS -- The 15-nation European Union outlawed tobacco ads in newspapers and magazines, on the Internet and at international sporting events beginning in 2005.

The new restrictions were approved by 13 EU nations, enough to push through the bill drawn up by the European Commission, the union's executive arm, after a court struck down an earlier ban. Britain and Germany opposed them.

The rules already were approved by the EU parliament.

"This is another nail in the coffin of the tobacco industry," EU Health Commissioner David Byrne said.

More than 500,000 Europeans die of tobacco-related diseases each year, and advertising plays a crucial role in encouraging tobacco smoking, the EU says.

Associated Press

American Guilty

In Monaco Killings

MONTE CARLO -- An American nurse was convicted in the arson deaths of banker Edmond Safra and another nurse, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ted Maher was convicted of arson leading to death. The 1999 fire in this wealthy Mediterranean enclave killed Safra and nurse Vivian Torrente.

The prosecution had requested 12 years in prison for Maher. The charges carried a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"He directly caused the deaths of Mrs. Torrente and Mr. Safra," said head prosecutor Daniel Serdet. "He trapped the victims."

The defense said that Maher -- who admitted setting the fire -- did not intend for Safra and the nurse to die.

His intention, the defense said, was merely to trigger the fire alarm and pose as Safra's rescuer.

"Stupidity is reprehensible, but it is not a crime," Sandrine Setton, one of the defense lawyers, said in closing arguments.

Maher has been in prison for three years.

Associated Press