Madrid, Spain A man accused of leading a Spanish al Qaeda cell denied charges he helped organize the Sept. 11 attacks by arranging a final meeting and said Monday he had nothing to do with that act of “terrible savagery.”
Imad Yarkas, 42, a Syrian-born Spanish citizen and main suspect in Spain’s case against al Qaeda, described himself as a hardworking father of six who struggles to make ends meet.
He took the stand on Day 2 of the trial of 24 suspects – Europe’s biggest court case against radical groups with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden’s terror network.
If convicted, he faces a symbolic sentence of almost 75,000 years in prison – 25 years for each of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Two quakes strike ends of Indonesia
Jakarta, Indonesia Two earthquakes rocked islands on opposite ends of the Indonesian archipelago today, and there were no reports of damage or causalities.
A 5.4 magnitude quake shook parts of Sulawasi Island in eastern Indonesia, Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics agency said. The temblor was centered under the Maluku Sea 95 miles east of the city of Manado.
About 4 1/2 hours later, a 5.5 quake struck off Sumatra Island, about 230 miles northwest of the city of Padang. Sumatra is on the archipelago’s western end.
Berlusconi skips liberation march
Rome Premier Silvio Berlusconi skipped a march Monday to commemorate Italy’s liberation from fascism 60 years ago, adding to his troubles as he gears up to win crucial support for his newly formed conservative coalition.
Italy has never fully cleared up ideological divisions over the 1922-1945 fascist era and World War II, and this year’s Liberation Day anniversary reflected that.
Berlusconi was criticized for not attending the march in Milan just two days before his revamped Cabinet is to be put to a confidence vote in parliament.
With his 4-year-old coalition sliding in polls and his ministers bickering, Berlusconi resigned last week and put together a new Cabinet, hoping to cling to power through elections next spring.
Doisneau print earns $202,000 at auction
Paris The woman in Robert Doisneau’s classic photograph of a couple stealing a passionate kiss on a Paris street sold her original print at an auction Monday for more than $200,000 – about 10 times the expected sale price.
“The Kiss at City Hall” was bought by an unidentified Swiss collector, who is expected to pay an additional $38,850 in taxes and other fees in addition to the $202,000 purchase price, according to Artcurial Briest Pulain le Fur auction house, where the sale took place.
Before the auction, the house said the photo could sell for between $19,600 and $26,000.
The photo was put up for auction by Francoise Bornet – a former actress who claims she and an old flame were the subjects of the image taken in 1950.