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World in brief: Suicide bomber hits guarded enclave

Wed., Dec. 12, 2007

A suicide car bomber struck in one of the capital’s most heavily guarded neighborhoods Tuesday, killing two guards at a checkpoint near the home and offices of two prominent politicians, including the first prime minister after Saddam Hussein.

Both politicians were out of the country at the time.

The explosion took place in a neighborhood bordering the U.S.-protected Green Zone in western Baghdad, less than a quarter-mile from buildings that included the home and office compound of Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite, and offices of Saleh al-Mutlaq, the head of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, a Sunni political bloc.

It was the second bombing in two days to strike guards of Allawi, who is on a short list of possible future national leaders and a fierce critic of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

LIMA, Peru

Fujimori convicted of abuse of power

Former President Alberto Fujimori was convicted of abuse of authority and sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday at the end of the first in a series of trials on charges that include murder, kidnapping and corruption.

Supreme Court Justice Pedro Guillermo Urbina declared Fujimori guilty of abusing his power for ordering an illegal search as his government imploded in scandal seven years ago. He also fined Fujimori the equivalent of $134,900.

The former president was convicted of having a military aide pose as a prosecutor and search without a warrant the luxury apartment of the wife of his spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, in November 2000.

It was the first prison sentence handed down for Fujimori, 69, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, before fleeing to Japan, his ancestral homeland, as his government collapsed. He faces three other trials on charges that include murder, kidnapping and corruption.

The search of the apartment of Montesinos’ wife was conducted without a court order. Fujimori admitted ordering one of his military aides, an army officer, to pass himself off as a prosecutor during the search.

Fujimori justified his action by saying it was part of a nationwide manhunt for Montesinos after Switzerland accused him of money laundering.


Pirates release tanker, crew

Pirates freed a Japanese chemical tanker loaded with highly explosive benzene off the coast of Somalia today, six weeks after seizing the vessel and its crew, a U.S. Navy spokesman said.

All 22 crew members were unhurt, the Navy said, and the pirates were seen heading toward the Somali coast.

The Golden Nori was seized off the east coast of Somalia in late October carrying up to 40,000 tons of benzene. The U.S. Navy came to the aid of the vessel that month, with the guided missile destroyer USS Porter opening fire to destroy pirate skiffs tied to the ship, and the Navy monitoring the ship afterward.

The 6,253-ton tanker was carrying crew from Myanmar, the Philippines and South Korea. One of the two South Korean crew members escaped and was rescued by a passing vessel in early November.


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