February 6, 2005 in Nation/World

G-7 ready to provide debt relief

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

London The world’s seven wealthiest nations said Saturday they were willing to take on up to 100 percent of the debt owed by some of the poorest countries. But they failed to agree on a British plan to boost international aid by $50 billion a year.

But G-7 finance ministers said they would consider debt relief on a country-by-country basis and underlined that governments must show themselves accountable for how they would use money freed up by the relief for poverty reduction.

The ministers did not make any firm promises or say when such a relief program would begin or how much money the nations would be willing to provide.

Saudi prince calls for global intel center

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince called for the creation of a worldwide center to share intelligence on terrorism on Saturday at a conference on fighting al Qaeda and other groups, hosted by a country often accused of exporting militants.

Crown Prince Abdullah, who is the kingdom’s de facto leader and has led a tough campaign against militant groups over the past year, said a global intelligence-sharing center could allow experts and officials worldwide to “exchange information instantly” to prevent attacks.

Saudi Arabia is already thought to exchange information with the United States, but the kingdom has been criticized for failing to openly disclose the steps it takes internally to uproot al Qaeda’s structure in the kingdom.

Teen held in case of homemade bombs

Wichita, Kan. A 17-year-old student has been charged with making homemade bombs that exploded outside the homes of two teachers.

Authorities believe Marcus Curran also set off explosives outside the home of a school secretary and on a high school football field.

Curran was arrested Friday at Nickerson High School in south-central Kansas and taken to a juvenile detention center on five counts of arson and two counts of attempted arson.

Five of the bombs exploded, two were found unexploded in mailboxes and three others were duds, Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson said.

Preacher’s fate with jury in theft case

Rome, Ga. A federal jury began deliberating Friday in the case of a preacher charged with bilking nearly $9 million from 1,600 churches in 41 states in just over a year.

The Rev. Abraham Kennard stood trial for three weeks on 132 criminal counts, including money laundering and mail fraud. The jury in the case deliberated for four hours on Friday, then adjourned until Monday.

Kennard, 46, shared his dream of building a string of Christian resorts with a tight-knit community of black ministers.

Word spread, and soon congregations nationwide were raising the $3,000 they needed to invest in Kennard’s company. For their small investment, the faithful were assured, they would eventually get their money back more than 100 times over – up to $500,000 in a grant or a forgivable loan.

Prosecutors argued that Kennard took advantage of the nation’s tight network of black churches to launch a fast-growing pyramid scheme that allowed him and his family lavish lifestyles.

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