IRA Remains Involved

In Crime, Report Says

DUBLIN -- The Irish Republican Army has ceased many threatening activities, including vigilante attacks and training new members, but remains involved in pervasive criminal rackets that will prove extremely difficult to suppress, international experts said Wednesday in a long-awaited report.

Britain and Ireland published and welcomed the findings from the Independent Monitoring Commission, a four-man panel that assesses the activities of the IRA and other outlawed paramilitary groups on behalf of both governments.

Britain took the findings on the IRA as a cue to reward Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked political party that represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland. Peter Hain, the British government minister responsible for governing the territory, said he would restore more than $700,000 in annual taxpayer funding to the party. The financial aid had been withheld for more than a year because of IRA involvement in a range of violent and criminal activities.


* MADRID -- A judge has issued an international arrest warrant for three U.S. soldiers whose tank fired on a Baghdad hotel during the Iraq war, killing a Spanish journalist and a Ukrainian cameraman, a court official said.

Judge Santiago Pedraz issued the warrant for Sgt. Shawn Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Lt. Col. Philip de Camp, all from the U.S. 3rd Infantry, which is based in Fort Stewart, Ga.

Jose Couso, who worked for the Spanish television network Telecinco, died April 8, 2003, after a U.S. Army tank crew fired a shell on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where many journalists were staying to cover the war. Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian, also was killed.

The Americas

* SANTIAGO, Chile -- Chile's Supreme Court stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution so he can face charges of tax fraud involving an estimated $27 million.

The decision was confirmed by several court officials and opens the way for the retired general to be indicted for alleged tax crimes.

Pinochet, who is 89 and ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990 after a military coup, has been stripped of his presidential immunity from prosecution in a handful of human rights cases but has not had to face charges because his lawyers have successfully argued that he is too ill for a criminal trial.

* BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's highest court approved a law allowing presidents to run for second terms. But President Alvaro Uribe, a staunch U.S. ally, faces another hurdle before he can seek reelection next year.

In a landmark ruling, the nine-member Constitutional Court voted to approve legislation passed by Congress last year that scraps a ban on presidential reelection, said court president Manuel Jose Cepeda. Uribe must still wait for a court verdict on a second law passed by Congress before his name can officially appear on the ballot in the May elections.

* TORONTO -- Canadian police arrested a Rwandan man living in Toronto, accusing him of crimes against humanity during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a police statement said. Desire Munyaneza, 39, is the first person to be charged under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, in force since 2000.

-- From News Services