High-Profile Cuban Dissidents Released

HAVANA -- At least three dissidents, including Cuba's top female opposition leader, were released Saturday, one day after they and others were rounded up as they prepared to attend a protest outside the French Embassy, a veteran rights activist reported.

Martha Beatriz Roque, who organized a high-profile and unprecedented May 20 opposition meeting in Havana, was released early Saturday, said Elizardo Sanchez of the nongovernmental Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Two other women detained in Friday's roundup were also let go, Sanchez said.

There was no immediate word on the fate of Rene Gomez Manzano and Felix Bonne, two other longtime opposition leaders who helped Roque organize the meeting for the Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society in May in Bonne's back yard.


* NAIROBI -- Former president Bill Clinton launched a program to nearly double the number of children receiving treatment for HIV infection in Kenya by the end of the year.

About 100,000 children are infected with HIV, but only 1,200 receive treatment. The Clinton Foundation Pediatric HIV/AIDS Initiative will provide treatment to an extra 1,000 children in this East African nation.

Clinton flew to Rwanda later Saturday for the last leg of a six-nation tour of Africa, intended to focus attention on the AIDS crisis in the continent.

* MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Fighters from rival clans battled for control of a town in southern Somalia, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 30 others, witnesses said.

Fighting subsided early Saturday, but it was unclear which faction controlled Ealwaq town, which is 275 miles west of the capital Mogadishu, near the Kenyan border, said Dahir Nuur, a town resident.

Combatants torched nearly 50 thatched huts, Nuur said by radio.


* ISTANBUL -- Turkish forces killed five Kurdish rebels, including a woman, in a gun battle in the southeast, a local governor's office said.

The new violence brings to 15 the number of rebels killed in the past 10 days.

The clash occurred Thursday when Turkish soldiers came across a group of rebels and called for their surrender, the Sirnak governor's office said in a statement. The rebels responded with gunfire, and five were killed in the ensuing clash, the statement said. It was not clear why there was a delay in news of the clash.

Also Saturday, a bomb exploded at an Istanbul cafe frequented by both Turks and foreign tourists, injuring at least two people, police said.

The blast, which police said was caused by either a remote controlled bomb or a bomb on a timer, occurred at a cafe at the bottom of the Galata bridge.

* DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The daughter of a wealthy Indian fugitive accused by the United States of links to al Qaeda married the son of a top Pakistani cricketer in Dubai in a high society wedding with all the trappings of a Bollywood film.

Indian businessman Dawood Ibrahim, whose whereabouts are not known, was said not to have attended the ceremony in the glitzy city in the United Arab Emirates.

Former Pakistani cricket captain Javed Miandad confirmed earlier this month that his son Junaid would marry Mahrukh Ibrahim, whose father is accused by India of a wave of bomb attacks in Bombay in 1993 that killed 260 people.

* TEHRAN -- Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi condemned the hanging of two teenagers convicted of raping younger boys in northeastern Iran, a punishment that also prompted protests by the international community and rights groups.

Last week's hangings of an 18-year-old and 16-year-old on charges of involvement in homosexual acts violated Iran's obligations under the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans such executions, Ebadi said.

Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were hanged publicly July 19 in the city of Mashhad on charges of raping younger boys. They said before their executions that they were not aware that homosexual acts were punishable by death.


* PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The deadline for voter registration will likely have to be postponed to allow more people to register for Haiti's first elections since the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the interim prime minister said.

The Aug. 9 deadline may be extended to September, said Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, but he insisted October and November elections could still be held on time.

* QUITO, Ecuador -- An Ecuadoran judge has ordered the arrest of former president Lucio Gutierrez, for "harming national security" by criticizing the way he was replaced in April, an official said.

But the order by Supreme Court President Alberto Moscoso, reported in El Universal newspaper and confirmed by a state prosecution official on condition of anonymity, is unlikely to be immediately applied because Gutierrez is in the United States.


* MADRID -- Spain blamed radical groups seeking the independence of the Galicia region for a bomb that exploded in the busy pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela on Saturday, causing minor damage but no injuries.

Police arrested two people they believe planted the bomb that exploded outside the main office of regional savings bank Caixa Galicia, officials said.

-- From News Services

Opposition leader Marta Beatriz Roque was detained Friday.