Pope Visits Switzerland,

Vows to Continue Travels

BERN, Switzerland -- A frail Pope John Paul II arrived in Switzerland on Saturday -- his first foreign trip in nine months. He told a group of young people he had no intention of giving up the papacy and said he had a duty to keep traveling.

The pontiff spoke to a rally of 13,000 Swiss Roman Catholic youths, his hands trembling but his voice clear. He had difficulty speaking at times, but the crowd encouraged him by cheering.

"It's wonderful to be able to offer oneself until the end for the cause of the kingdom of God," he said, describing that as his testimony after nearly 60 years as a priest.

The pontiff, 84, has Parkinson's disease and crippling hip and knee ailments, but he has repeatedly brushed aside suggestions that he step down.

On Friday, while receiving President Bush at the Vatican, John Paul's hands trembled badly and it was hard to understand his speech.

The pope appeared alert and spoke more clearly after arriving in Bern for a 32-hour visit. For the first time on a foreign trip, aides rolled his wheeled throne onto a van, instead of carrying him onto a vehicle.

The Middle East

* KUWAIT CITY -- A criminal court convicted seven Kuwaiti Islamic extremists of involvement in the 2002 shooting attack on U.S. Marines that killed one and injured a second during training in the oil-rich country.

Three of the key suspects received four or five years in prison for joining an illegal organization and weapons possession. They and three of the others were fined $680 to $17,000. One was given two years probation, and five were acquitted.

* JERUSALEM -- Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ruled that Tourism Minister Benny Elon, fired by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday, could not take part in a cabinet vote Sunday on Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, Israel TV reported.

Elon, a staunch opponent of the withdrawal plan, went into hiding Friday to avoid the delivery of his dismissal letter and delay the cabinet vote, but resurfaced Saturday in Jerusalem.

A Justice Ministry spokesman declined to confirm the TV report.

* TEHRAN -- Iranian police have killed at least 58 drug smugglers and confiscated more than 50 tons of narcotics in more than 100 operations over the past two months, a top police official said.

"The huge amount of narcotics seized is demonstration of a crisis caused by mass production of various types of drugs in neighboring Afghanistan," state-run radio quoted Gen. Mahdi Abouei as saying. Seven police officers were killed in the raids, he said. Police also detained 20,000 smugglers and distributors, as well as 41,000 addicts, since April, according to the radio report.


* GRACANICA, Serbia and Montenegro -- An ethnic Serbian teenager was shot dead in Kosovo, and police quickly arrested two ethnic Albanians suspected of trying to ignite another round of violence in the U.N.-run province.

U.N. police spokesman Malcolm Ashby said Dimitrije Popovic, 16, died when gunmen fired from a car into a group of young Serbs at a hamburger stand at 2 a.m. Police in Pristina later stopped a car and seized two Albanians with guns.

"The criminals must be brought to justice, and as soon as possible the motives for this criminal act must be found," said Bajram Rexhepi, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian prime minister. "I call on all citizens of Kosovo to remain calm."

* PARIS -- A Jewish teenager was stabbed in the chest by a man crying, "God is great," officials said. It was the second attack in a week on a young Jewish man.

The 17-year-old victim, who was not identified, was attacked Friday afternoon as he left a Jewish school in Epinay-sur-Seine, north of Paris in the rough Seine-Saint-Denis district, local officials said on condition of anonymity.

The victim was taken to a hospital in serious condition, and the attacker fled.


* BUKAVU, Congo -- A renegade leader said he was complying with U.N. orders to withdraw from a city in eastern Congo and denied his troops were moving toward other strategic towns.

Gen. Laurent Nkunda, whose troops seized Bukavu Wednesday, said he would withdraw his remaining soldiers by Sunday -- two days after the United Nations took charge in the city.

Nkunda said he withdrew all troops except those protecting key installations and his senior officers. A U.N. military observer said that Nkunda had withdrawn the bulk of his force, but U.N. officers were pushing him to finish the pullout.

* ALGIERS -- An Algerian Islamic militant group with ties to al Qaeda said it carried out an ambush that killed 10 soldiers and wounded 16 and declared its war on secular authorities was not over.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat said its fighters had staged the Wednesday ambush on an army convoy, hitting it in broad daylight on a highway in the restive Kabylie region in eastern Algeria.

Three more people -- a police official and two members of a paramilitary unit -- were killed in Kabylie on Saturday, journalists said.

* BAMAKO, Mali -- Political independents outdid the former governing party's candidates in nationwide local election results announced nearly a week after a vote considered by some to be proof of this West African country's strengthening democracy.

Independents won 36 percent of the 10,000 local council seats decided in the May 30 voting. The Alliance for Democracy in Mali, which led the country from 1992 to 2002, took 25 percent of the posts, and nine other parties split the rest.

The vote marked the first time the full slate of Mali's political parties participated in local elections. Previous votes were marked by boycotts.

-- From News Services