Germany to Extradite

Alleged Terror Financier

BERLIN -- Germany has cleared the way for the extradition to Spain of an Arab businessman long accused by the United States of financing al Qaeda and investigated by German authorities for links to a terrorist cell in Hamburg involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

Mamoun Darkazanli, a Syrian German, was arrested on Friday in Hamburg on a warrant issued in Spain. He was one of 35 people charged by Judge Baltasar Garzon in September 2003 with belonging to al Qaeda. The charge sheet says Darkazanli carried out "logistics support and financing activity" for al Qaeda, including the purchase of a cargo vessel for Osama bin Laden that he and two others bought in December 1993.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected calls from Jewish settlers to hold a nationwide referendum on his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, escalating an increasingly bitter dispute with former allies who now accuse him of leading Israel toward civil war.

Sharon says his plan will increase Israel's security and help consolidate control over large chunks of the West Bank. Palestinians charge that the real purpose of Sharon's plan is a West Bank land grab.

EUROPE

* LONDON -- Thousands of antiwar activists marched through central London and filled Trafalgar Square to protest the U.S.-led military presence in Iraq. The march marked the culmination of the third European Social Forum, which was largely dominated by Iraq and the U.S. presidential election.

* BERN, Switzerland -- A Lebanese hijacker who served 17 years in a Swiss prison for killing a passenger and seriously wounding a flight attendant aboard a commandeered Air Afrique flight in 1987 has been released and deported to Lebanon, officials said. Hussein Hariri agreed to immediate deportation and was sent to Beirut on Tuesday on a chartered plane, said Dominique Boillat, spokesman for the Federal Refugee Office.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

* PAPEETE, Tahiti -- Thousands of protesters staged the largest march ever in French Polynesia, demanding the dissolution of parliament and new elections as a political crisis deepened on the Pacific archipelago. At least 15,000 people demonstrated peacefully Saturday in the capital of the French territory, Papeete, to show support for pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru, whose government was removed from power last weekend when parliament voted to censure him.

* SEOUL -- South Korean troops will remain in Iraq for an additional year until the end of 2005, the Yonhap news agency reported. About 2,800 South Korean soldiers are deployed in Iraq's northern Kurdish region, and 800 others are expected to arrive in November on a tour focused on aid and reconstruction.

AFRICA

* NAIROBI -- An explosion at an airport in Kenya's capital wounded at least two people and prompted authorities to seal off the facility to air traffic, witnesses said. Pilots monitoring communications said emergency personnel indicated the blast at Wilson Airport was caused by mishandling of explosive chemicals or a gas canister. At least two people were evacuated by ambulance from the airport, witnesses said.

-- From News Services