Putin Decries Funding

Of Politics From Abroad

MOSCOW -- Russia will not allow foreign groups to finance political activities in the country, President Vladimir Putin said in the latest Kremlin statement assailing Western funding of nongovernmental groups.

Meeting with human rights experts, Putin said authorities needed to "de-bureaucratize" how nonprofit groups get grants, but said certain foreign groups were paying for political activities in Russia.

"Not a single, self-respecting country will allow that, and neither will we," Putin said. "Let us solve our internal problems ourselves."

Many Russian politicians contend that U.S. funding was behind protests that drove out the longtime presidents of Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and forced a rerun of Ukraine's presidential election, in which the Kremlin-favored candidate lost.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* NABLUS, West Bank -- Jewish settlers stabbed a Palestinian boy to death in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, witnesses said. They said the 12-year-old was ambushed by several settlers near his home in the village of Qaryot. Israel Radio said the attack followed a march by settlers into the village. The boy was stabbed 11 times, medics said. An Israeli police spokesman said the stabbing was under investigation.

EUROPE

* VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will visit a synagogue, address Muslims and meet with representatives of other Christian denominations during a trip next month to his native Germany for the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day, the Vatican said.

ASIA

* KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two Afghans released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said about 180 Afghan detainees were on a hunger strike to protest alleged mistreatment.

Habir Russol and Moheb Ullah Borekzai said they left the prison Monday and were flown to Afghanistan. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico, said he was unaware of a hunger strike.

* TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- An Uzbek court sentenced six women to between five and eight years in prison for religious extremism after their confessions were obtained under pressure, according to Surat Ikramov, a human rights activist.

This was the first group of women sentenced since an uprising in May in the eastern city of Andijan in which witnesses said government security forces shot and killed hundreds of unarmed civilians.

AFRICA

* NAIROBI -- Riot police in Kenya's capital beat demonstrators with truncheons and fired tear gas canisters as protests persisted over proposed constitutional amendments that critics contend would leave the president with too much power. One man was killed.

The demonstrators are opposed to plans by allies of President Mwai Kibaki to change the draft constitution to maintain the president's powers and weaken those of a proposed prime minister.

THE AMERICAS

* TORONTO -- Canada legalized gay marriage, becoming the world's fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples. Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, filling in for the governor general, signed the legislation after the Senate approved it late Tuesday.

-- From News Services