Libya Agrees to Pay

Victims of '86 Blast

BERLIN -- Libya agreed Tuesday to pay $35 million to some victims of a 1986 bombing at a Berlin disco as Moammar Gadhafi, the country's leader, continued his effort to rebuild relations with Europe and the United States.

The deal, coming after much larger settlements for the bombings of U.S. and French airliners, does not cover American victims, including two soldiers who died in the blast at the La Belle disco. Lawyers are seeking separate compensation for them in U.S. courts.

The settlement, agreed to by German lawyers and officials of a Libyan foundation run by Gadhafi's son, deals with 170 non-U.S. citizens, including Germans, who were wounded, and with the family of a Turkish woman who was the other person killed by the bomb.

After the deal was announced, the German government said that it hoped to improve relations with Libya and that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would visit Libya soon. Libyan Ambassador Said Abdulaati called the accord "a step forward for the relations of Libya to Germany and the European Union." But he said that Libya did not accept guilt for the disco bombing, calling the settlement "a humanitarian gesture."

THE AMERICAS

* MEXICO CITY -- Mexican authorities are investigating the sale of fake or substandard pharmaceuticals in a border town so popular among Americans seeking cheap medications that it has more pharmacies than streets.

U.S. officials said at least one pharmacy sold useless tablets labeled as Zocor, a cholesterol drug, to an American citizen in Algodones, a hamlet with 10 streets and about 20 drugstores across the border from Yuma, Ariz.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert July 30 about the counterfeit Zocor and a bogus version of Carisoprodol, used to treat muscle spasms.

* SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A court sentenced a U.S. man to prison for 45 years after finding him guilty of having sex with minors, trafficking in child pornography and supplying drugs to children. Thomas Scott Cochran, 38, of California, was also found guilty of paying for sex with minors and producing child pornography.

* VALPARAISO, Chile -- Chile's Senate voted to pardon 32 people who say they are the country's last political prisoners, closing a chapter in the country's human rights saga. The pardon, pushed by President Ricardo Lagos, came after seven of the prisoners became dangerously ill during a 74-day hunger strike. The pardon covers prisoners who took up arms against Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship and continued their armed struggle after Chile returned to democracy in 1990.

ASIA

* COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka was closed and its staff evacuated after it received mail containing a suspicious powder, officials said. All departments, including the visa section, were closed for "administrative and security reasons," embassy spokesman Chris Long said. He said he did not know when the embassy would reopen.

* ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Senior Pakistani officials said some al Qaeda fugitives fled after news reports revealed that a Pakistani computer expert for Osama bin Laden's network had been arrested and was cooperating with investigators.

Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, 25, led authorities to a key al Qaeda figure and sent e-mails to operatives so investigators could trace their locations.

"Let me say that this intelligence leak jeopardized our plan and some al Qaeda suspects ran away," a Pakistani official said on condition of anonymity.

The disclosure on Aug. 1 came as the Bush administration was defending its decision to warn about possible attacks against financial institutions in New York, Washington and Newark.

EUROPE

* WARSAW -- The United States has invited international observers to monitor November's presidential election, U.S. and European officials said.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, said it received the request from the State Department and would send a team to the United States next month to determine whether to accept the task.

The United States is a member of the 55-nation group, which has focused on monitoring elections in emerging democracies.

Adam Ereli, a State Department spokesman, said the OSCE sent 10 observers to the 2002 elections in Florida and two observers to California during the gubernatorial recall election in 2003.

* MILJEVINA, Bosnia -- Forensic experts recovered remains of three dozen victims in a mass grave covered with coal-mine waste and said it might hold hundreds of Muslims missing from the area for 12 years.

"These victims are men, and clothes and shoes found inside indicate that they are civilians," said Amor Masovic, of the Commission for Missing People of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation, whose team led the exhumation work.

"According to our information, they are inmates from the notorious KP Dom prison and inhabitants of Foca, Miljevina and Jelec killed in April and May of 1992," Masovic said.

* LYON, France -- Vandals scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti on dozens of tombstones in Lyon, authorities said, the third time a Jewish cemetery has been desecrated this year. Swastikas and inscriptions with Adolf Hitler's name were painted on headstones in de la Mouche cemetery.

AFRICA

* KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Sudan carried out helicopter attacks in Darfur, worsening an already desperate humanitarian situation, while an Arab militia targeted refugees trying to escape the conflict, the United Nations said.

Human Rights Watch said in a report that Sudan's government was incorporating militias blamed for atrocities into the police forces rather than disarming them.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* JERUSALEM -- Israeli forces moved into the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis early Wednesday, wounding at least 12 people, three of them critically, in a missile strike, Palestinian officials said. Israeli military officials said the attack was part of an operation "against the terrorist infrastructure."

-- From News Services