Pakistan to Free 12

Linked to Gang Rape

LAHORE, Pakistan -- A Pakistani court on Friday ordered the release next week of 12 men connected to a notorious gang-rape case, including six convicted of the crime, court officials said.

The men, detained in connection with the 2002 rape of Mukhtar Mai, were ordered to be freed by the high court in the central province of Punjab, officials of the court said.

Authorities had petitioned a review board of the court to extend the detention of the 12 men, which expires Monday, but the court rejected the plea, the officials said.

It was the latest twist in a case that provoked an outcry in Pakistan and focused international attention on the treatment of women in the country, particularly in rural areas, where sometimes-brutal tribal customs hold sway.


* TOKYO -- A male high school student threw a glass bottle containing gunpowder into a packed math class in western Japan, injuring 58 students. At least one student was seriously injured in the incident at Hikari high school in Yamaguchi prefecture and was immediately taken to a hospital for care.

Police arrested the 18-year-old senior who threw the bottle and were questioning him about a motive. Japan is grappling with a surge in school violence, including a high-profile killing last year in the southern Japanese city of Sasebo.

-- Sachiko Sakamaki

* KABUL, Afghanistan -- An American soldier was killed and three U.S. troops were wounded when insurgents ambushed a patrol in eastern Afghanistan -- the third deadly attack on U.S. forces in the border region in a week.


* ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- One of three young men who took Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway to the beach during a high school graduation trip to Aruba said "something bad happened" to her, police said. Deputy Police Commissioner Gerold Dompig said that the man was leading police to the scene.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports