ASIA

Four Convicted in Pakistan Blast

KARACHI, Pakistan -- An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan convicted four men yesterday of organizing last year's bomb attack on the U.S. consulate in the port city of Karachi, and handed death sentences to two of them.

The other two were sentenced to life in prison, while a fifth defendant was acquitted.

Twelve Pakistanis were killed on June 14 when suspected Islamic militants packed a vehicle with explosives and rammed it into the perimeter wall of the consulate. No foreigners or consulate staff were killed.

"I am not worried. I am satisfied. I was expecting this," Mohammed Imran, one of the two sentenced to death, told reporters after the verdicts were handed down by the court inside the Karachi central jail. Mohammed Hanif, also given a death sentence, said Muslims were being targeted by the world over.

"Look what is happening in Iraq. It is a conspiracy of the United States and Israel," he said.

Prosecutors said the men belong to the Harkat ul-Mujaheddin al-Almi militant group, a splinter faction of the outlawed Harkat ul-Mujaheddin, which is fighting Indian rule in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The men, who pleaded not guilty, were charged with murder, attempted murder, terrorism, conspiracy and the use of explosives.

The defense said it would appeal.

Reuters

Ex-Hostage Urges End to Dispute

TOKYO -- A Japanese woman who returned home six months ago after decades of captivity in North Korea urged Tokyo to resolve its dispute with Pyongyang so she could be reunited with her American husband and two daughters.

Hitomi Soga, one of the five Japanese allowed to come home decades after being kidnapped by North Korea in the late 1970s, said she was glad to be back but cannot enjoy life until she is reunited with her family.

"Who will bring together my separated family, and when would that be?" she said in a brief statement to reporters. "Please give me back the true happiness of life as soon as possible."

Soga's case is extremely complicated because her husband is Charles Robert Jenkins, of Rich Square, N.C. He is accused of deserting his U.S. Army unit in 1965 to defect to the North and faces possible extradition to the United States if he travels to Tokyo.

It's not clear if North Korea would let Jenkins go, partly because he is a potent symbol in its propaganda war with Washington. Jenkins and the couple's two daughters "are eagerly longing" to be reunited with her, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said. Jenkins has written letters to Soga urging her to return home.

Associated Press

Soldiers Attacked in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two Afghan soldiers were shot and killed in southern Afghanistan, while unidentified attackers threw hand grenades at Italian troops on patrol in the east, the U.S. military said.

No Italians were injured in Saturday's grenade attack near the eastern city of Khost, the military said in a statement from its headquarters at Bagram air base, north of the capital. Two grenades were thrown, but one did not detonate. Italian troops detained one person after the incident.

In a separate attack on Sunday, one rocket was fired toward a coalition base in Orgun in eastern Paktika province. No damage or casualties were reported, the statement said.

Also on Sunday, two Afghan soldiers allied to coalition troops were shot and killed near the troubled town of Spin Boldak, in southern Kandahar province near the Pakistan border. The circumstances were unclear.

Afghan authorities said remnants of the former Taliban government, ousted in a U.S.-led war in 2001, are reorganizing in an effort to destabilize President Hamid Karzai's government.

Associated Press

EUROPE

Serbian Police Jail Karadzic Ally

BELGRADE -- Serbian police said they had arrested a well-known Serbian businessman who has been described as a key financier of war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadzic.

Momcilo Mandic, a wartime associate of the former Bosnian Serb leader, was detained on suspicion that he had committed a number of criminal acts, police said in a statement.

Western officials in Bosnia said Mandic is part of the network that has helped Karadzic to remain at large for almost eight years after the conflict ended.

The statement did not provide details on why Mandic was being held, nor did it mention Karadzic, who is wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Reuters

THE AMERICAS

Gang Attacks Rio's Hotel Gloria

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Armed thugs sprayed Rio de Janeiro's famous Hotel Gloria with machine-gun fire in the latest gang violence directed at tourist spots in the crime-ridden Brazilian city.

Police said two cars had driven by the hotel near dawn and sprayed its facade with bullets before escaping into the hillside favelas, or slums, nearby. No one was hurt.

"This is the strategy of the [drug] dealer, to attack well-known places to draw attention," said police spokesman Frederico Caldas. "We're looking into who was responsible for this episode."

When it was built in 1922, the Gloria was Rio's premier hotel. It no longer attracts the high-end clients that the Copacabana Palace now does, but is considered a historic landmark.

Reuters

For the Record

Prosecutors in Indonesia filed treason charges against Abubakar Baasyir, a 64-year-old cleric who is accused of plotting to overthrow the government. . . . President Olusegun Obasanjo's ruling party took a lead in Nigeria's legislative elections, according to partial returns, boosting his hopes for reelection in presidential balloting later this week.