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Terri Schiavo’s remains cremated

Tampa, Fla. Terri Schiavo’s body was cremated Saturday as disagreements continued between her husband and her parents, who were unable to have their own independent expert observe her autopsy.

The cremation was carried out according to a court order issued Tuesday establishing that Michael Schiavo had the right to make such decisions, said his lawyer, George Felos. He said plans for burying her ashes in Pennsylvania, where she grew up, had not yet been completed.

Terri Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had wanted to bury their daughter in Pinellas County so they could visit her grave.

The Schindlers had sought to have independent medical experts observe their daughter’s autopsy at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s office, but the agency refused their request, family attorneys David Gibbs III and Barbara Weller said Saturday.

The autopsy was completed Friday, the day after Terri Schiavo died, and results are not expected for several weeks.

Investigators clear Sharpton in probe

Philadelphia An investigation into whether the Rev. Al Sharpton was involved in a scheme to defraud a pension fund was based on misinterpreted wiretaps, a prosecutor said Saturday.

Sharpton, who was a long-shot presidential candidate at the time of the investigation, attracted authorities’ attention when he started raising campaign money and discussing business with late Democratic fund-raiser Ronald A. White – then a target of a federal corruption probe at Philadelphia City Hall.

“The bottom line is that we thought something may have been going on with the New York pension fund that we were not accurate about,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer told the Associated Press on Saturday.

In a sealed 2003 affidavit, FBI agents alleged there was “probable cause” to believe Sharpton, White and others were conspiring to defraud the New York pension fund.

Spain arrests 13 in train bombings

Madrid, Spain Spanish police arrested 13 people Friday in connection with the train bombings that killed 191 people in Madrid last year, and the suspected al Qaeda leader who allegedly inspired the attacks was extradited from Belgium.

Youssef Belhadj, a 28-year-old Moroccan who was arrested in Belgium shortly after the bombings, was jailed in Spain on 191 counts of murder, a court official said.

The Interior Ministry said six Moroccans, four Syrians, one Egyptian, one Palestinian and one Algerian were arrested in raids in and around Madrid.

Four of the Moroccans are brothers linked to Belhadj, the suspect in whose name the attacks were claimed.

A police spokesman said the brothers, whose family name is Haddad, put Belhadj up in Madrid during a visit in 2003.

The spokesman said the 13 were suspected of being involved in preparations for the attacks, rather than in carrying out the bombings that also wounded more than 1,500.

Five U.S. soldiers accused of smuggling

Bogota, Colombia Five U.S Army soldiers are under investigation for allegedly trying to smuggle 32 pounds of cocaine out of Colombia aboard a U.S. military aircraft, American officials said Thursday.

The soldiers were detained Tuesday as a result of the investigation, said Lt. Col. Eduardo Villavicencio, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Southern Command in Florida.

He would not disclose where the five are being held, other than “in the United States.”

“The Department of Defense is working closely with Colombian authorities and U.S. law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation,” William Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, said in a statement. “I congratulate our law enforcement agencies for their excellent cooperation in uncovering this drug smuggling scheme.” The embassy declined further comment.


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