Ontario Ban on Pit Bulls

Subjects Violators to Jail

TORONTO -- Ontario on Monday became the first province in Canada to ban the pit bull in the wake of vicious attacks by the dogs, but defiant owners have challenged the law.

The measure makes it illegal to breed pit bulls or bring the dogs into the province. Those already in Ontario will be allowed to stay on a restricted basis, provided they are sterilized, and leashed and muzzled in public. Any pit bull born after a 60-day grace period will be shipped out of the province, sent to a research facility or destroyed. Owners who violate the law can face up to six months in jail.

Pit bulls are banned in several Canadian cities, including Windsor, Winnipeg and Kitchener. In the United States, bans are in place in Denver, Miami and Cincinnati.

EUROPE

* MINSK, Belarus -- A court sentenced two Georgian democracy activists to 15 days in custody, and security authorities accused a former U.S. diplomat of conspiring against the government. The moves came as President Alexander Lukashenko said his opponents and foreign forces were plotting to unseat him by fomenting change similar to the protests that have helped bring opposition leaders to power in other former Soviet republics.

The Belarusan security service accused a former U.S. Embassy attache of violating Belarusan and international law, claiming he brought printed materials into the country for the opposition.

* MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- A man suspected of murdering two 8-year-old girls was killed by a mob in the southern Russian province of Dagestan, police said. The girls disappeared from their home in the village of Bashlykent on Saturday and were found buried Sunday on land belonging to the man, the local Interior Ministry's press service said.

* ZAGREB, Croatia -- Forensic experts exhumed 10 bodies believed to be those of Croat civilians executed during the 1991 war with minority Serbs. The remains, including those of three women, were unearthed in the eastern town of Okucani, said Jadranka Kosor, minister of family and veterans welfare. It was the 141st mass grave found in Croatia since fighting ended in 1995.

THE AMERICAS

* QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuadoran police and the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a boat carrying seven tons of U.S.-bound Colombian cocaine in the Pacific, police said. The fishing boat had been supplied by fast launches off the Colombian coast and was sailing to a rendezvous with a ship that would carry the drugs, estimated to be worth $175 million, to the United States.

* BUENOS AIRES -- A judge said forensic experts had identified the skeletal remains of one of two French nuns whose disappearances in 1977 came to symbolize the brutality of Argentina's military dictatorship. The remains of Leonie Duquet, who was abducted from a Roman Catholic church by security forces, were identified using DNA testing with a blood sample from a relative in France. Duquet's body was found among those of 11 other people who had disappeared, including a founding member of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a leading human rights group.

* PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil -- The interim leader of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party, brought in to rescue it from the worst corruption scandal in its 25-year history, will step down next month in a blow to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Tarso Genro, a former education minister, said he quit because the party was unwilling to change its ways.

Lula had handpicked Genro to clean up the party after allegations emerged three months ago that it had siphoned off public funds to buy votes in Congress and had improperly financed election campaigns.

* CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- A U.S. Marine was shot and killed in this border city after he got into a heated argument with the driver of a white sport-utility vehicle who pulled out a gun and shot him, said Claudia Banuelos, a state police official.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* GAZA CITY -- Palestinian militant groups told an Egyptian envoy that they remained committed to a cease-fire with Israel, a day after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an Israeli bus station, Palestinian officials said.

Leaders from the main militant groups -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- made the pledge during meetings with the visiting Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman.

AFRICA

* LUDZIDZINI ROYAL VILLAGE, Swaziland -- More than 50,000 bare-breasted virgins vied to become the king of Swaziland's 13th wife in a ceremony that critics said ill befits a country with the world's highest rate of HIV/AIDS. King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, was due to attend the annual Reed Dance ceremony, which he has used since 1999 to pluck new brides from among thousands of dancing girls dressed in little more than beads and traditional skirts.

Critics say Mswati, who has courted controversy with his lavish lifestyle while two-thirds of his subjects live in abject poverty, sets a bad example by encouraging polygamy and teenage sex in a country where 40 percent of adults live with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

-- From News Services