Military to Investigate

Prisons in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The U.S. military on Saturday named a brigadier general to carry out a review of its secretive Afghan prisons, while officials in Washington revealed that they were looking into the deaths of two more Afghans.

Brig. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, deputy operational commander at the U.S. military's main base at Bagram, north of Kabul, will carry out the "top to bottom" review and deliver a report by mid-June, said a spokesman, Lt. Col. Tucker Mansager.

The commander of the 20,000 U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Barno, ordered the review this month in response to the growing scandal about prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jacoby will visit each of about 20 U.S. detention centers, including the main facility at Bagram "to ensure internationally accepted standards of handling detainees are being met," Mansager said.

The United States recently announced two new criminal investigations into allegations of abuse by former prisoners in Afghanistan, where it is also under pressure over the unexplained deaths of prisoners in custody.

Several investigations into the deaths of inmates detained by both the U.S. military and the CIA are underway.


* STOCKHOLM -- Egypt has agreed to an inquiry into the treatment of two men extradited from Sweden, one of whom said he was tortured, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said. Sweden deported Ahmed Hussein Agiza to Egypt in 2001 to stand trial for violent acts against the government.

Sweden said it had deported the two Egyptians after receiving diplomatic assurances from Cairo of fair treatment.


* MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Thousands of Somalis took to the streets of Mogadishu to protest Kenya's arrest of one of their country's best-known warlords, who has been jailed for a month for unpaid debt.

A crowd estimated at several thousand demanded Kenya free Hussein Aideed, who was seized during Somali peace talks in Nairobi on Thursday on the orders of a Kenyan magistrate.

Members of the Somali National Alliance, to which Aideed belongs, accused Kenya of humiliating Aideed, who came to power after the death of his father, Mohamed Farah Aideed, whose forces killed 18 U.S. troops in a failed raid in Mogadishu in 1993.

* HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Two journalists with Zimbabwe's last independent Sunday newspaper were re-arrested on charges of publishing false material to incite public disorder. The Standard's editor, Bornwell Chakaodza, and reporter Valentine Maponga were held for six hours Wednesday over a May 16 article reporting that relatives of a slain mining executive blamed unidentified senior government figures for his death.

They were re-arrested early Friday and later released on bail.


* CARACAS, Venezuela -- Troops arrested a former Venezuelan finance minister and retired army general accused of links to an anti-government plot, a senior officer said. Gen. Francisco Uson, who served briefly in President Hugo Chavez's cabinet before resigning during a short-lived 2002 coup, was detained at Puerto Ordaz in southeast Venezuela, National Guard Gen. Alberto Betancourt said.

Police have arrested at least seven military officers and a number of civilians following the May 9 roundup of more than 100 Colombian paramilitaries who the government says were being trained in Venezuela as an anti-Chavez force.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Three people were killed in a Colombian town by a car bomb that the army blamed on Marxist rebels marking the 40th anniversary of their armed struggle. A car packed with 45 pounds of ANFO, an explosive used in the mining industry, blew up in the town of San Carlos, 200 miles northwest of the capital, Bogota, said the army, blaming the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The authorities have also blamed the rebel army for a bomb in Medellin Thursday, which killed four people, and for attempting to explode a ton of ANFO in a truck near Bogota on Friday.

The rebel army has evolved from a band of peasants struggling for land reform into a 17,000-strong force funded by kidnappings and demanding protection money from the cocaine industry.


* RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- A German who worked as a caterer for Saudi Arabian Airlines was shot and killed by unknown assailants, an Interior Ministry official said. Authorities are investigating whether the attack was linked to terrorism or more conventional crime, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The man was shot on Prince Abdullah Highway, a popular shopping thoroughfare in eastern Riyadh.


* DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A river ferry carrying about 250 passengers capsized during a storm in eastern Bangladesh early Sunday, police said, and dozens of people were feared dead. Many of the passengers were believed to be trapped inside the double-decker ferry, said a police officer at the scene. About 50 people swam to shore and some were rescued from inside the vessel. Several bodies had also been found.

* SINGAPORE -- A ship carrying 4,000 cars sank after colliding with an oil tanker just south of Singapore, authorities said Sunday.

The collision between the tanker MT Kaminesan, carrying nearly 279,950 tons of crude oil, and car carrier MV Hyundai occurred late Saturday night, the Maritime and Ports Authority of Singapore said. All 20 crew members of the Hyundai were rescued before it sank.

* JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The nation's election commission ruled Saturday that former leader Abdurrahman Wahid is medically unfit to run in the July 5 presidential election, scuttling the nearly blind Muslim cleric's hopes of regaining the top job. The commission said five other presidential candidates and their running mates had passed medical tests and other criteria.

The ruling is expected to boost prospects for the former military chief, Gen. Wiranto, the nominee from the Golkar party, which won a plurality but not a majority of seats in parliament in April 5 legislative elections.

Wahid's Nation Awakening Party has said it would back Wiranto and his running mate, Salahuddin Wahid, the ex-president's younger brother, if the commission ruled against the elder Wahid.

* BANGKOK -- A policeman was killed in Thailand's troubled Muslim south where Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the security situation was getting better. The policeman was shot by unknown gunmen as he rode his motorcycle home in Narathiwat province, one of three southern provinces where authorities are on alert for possible attacks as a key Buddhist holiday approaches.

-- From News Services