Aruba Expands Search

For American Teenager

ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- About 700 volunteers joined police, soldiers and FBI agents on Monday, combing scrubland and beaches on Aruba's southeastern tip in an unprecedented search for an Alabama teenager who vanished a week ago on a trip to the Dutch Caribbean island.

Aruba's government let 4,000 civil servants off work early at 2 p.m. to hunt for Natalee Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala. The search was expanded a day after police charged two men in her disappearance.

The honors student vanished May 30 while on a five-day trip with more than 100 classmates celebrating their high school graduation. About 40 adults, including seven chaperones, accompanied them.


* ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI, in his first clear pronouncement on same-sex marriage since his election, condemned the unions as fake and expressions of "anarchic freedom" that threatened the future of the family.

The pope, who was elected in April, also condemned divorce, artificial birth control, trial marriages and free-style unions, saying all of these practices were dangerous for the family.

Gay marriages are already legal in several European countries.

* AMSTERDAM -- The Dutch Health Ministry, unhappy with legal sales of medical marijuana through pharmacies, will reevaluate its program later this year and may close it, a spokesman said. In a country where unauthorized marijuana has been easily available for decades, the government was surprised to find that sales of prescription marijuana produced under stringent quality controls had been far less successful than predicted.

* BUCHAREST, Romania -- Three Romanian reporters held hostage in Iraq for 55 days were victims of a plot by a Syrian businessman to have them kidnapped so he could free them and escape prosecution on charges of organized crime and financial wrongdoing, Romania's president said.

* WARSAW -- A Polish priest denied he intentionally collaborated with communist authorities in the 1980s while close to Pope John Paul II's entourage, but he apologized to anyone he may have hurt.

Allegations that the Rev. Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo had informed on the pope for Poland's communist government were first brought by Poland's Institute for National Remembrance shortly after the Polish-born pontiff died in April.

* UTAH BEACH, France -- On rain-whipped French beaches and in graveyards crowded with white crosses, aging Allied veterans quietly honored friends who fell 61 years ago during the D-Day landings that changed the course of World War II.


* KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the Guantanamo Bay prison camp should not be closed because some inmates were too dangerous to be released "under any conditions."

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, on a two-day visit to Malaysia, was responding to a demand by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) that the prison camp be shut down because it had become "the greatest propaganda tool" for Islamic terrorists.

Myers said a decision on whether to close the camp was up to the U.S. government. But he suggested there were few alternatives for dealing with combatants who were not regular soldiers and had "no moral boundaries."

* KATMANDU, Nepal -- A land mine exploded under a packed bus in southern Nepal on Monday, killing 38 passengers and wounding 72 in one of the worst attacks on civilians since a Maoist rebellion erupted in 1996.


* JERUSALEM -- Palestinians are recruiting thousands of police in the Gaza Strip to prevent attacks on Jewish settlers and soldiers during Israel's planned pullout from the area this summer, a security official said, a significant step toward coordination after months of deadlock and years of conflict.

* RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- King Fahd's health is steadily improving, Crown Prince Abdullah said. The 83-year-old monarch was rushed to the hospital on May 27 with pneumonia, fever and respiratory complications.


* BRASILIA -- Brazil's ruling party was shaken by accusations that it had bribed lawmakers to maintain its coalition in Congress, raising fears of a scandal that could paralyze the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as it seeks to pass key reforms.

Stocks plunged and Brazil's currency weakened against the dollar after the country's largest newspaper published an interview with the leader of the Brazilian Labor Party alleging that Silva's Workers Party paid monthly "allowances" of $12,500 to unnamed lawmakers.

-- From News Services