August 2, 2008 in Nation/World

Al-Qaida kingpin: Driver unfit to plan

 

Al-Qaida kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed testified at the U.S. war crimes court Friday as “executive director of 9-11” and dismissed Osama bin Laden’s driver as a primitive pleasure-seeker unqualified to plot or carry out terror.

“He was not fit to plan or execute,” said Mohammed, blamed for the mass murder of 2,973 people on Sept. 11, 2001. “He is fit to change trucks’ tires, change oil filters, wash and clean cars.”

And with that endorsement, submitted in written testimony, the defense rested in the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, 37, of Yemen, the first U.S. war crimes tribunal since World War II.

The jury of six military officers is scheduled to start deliberating on a verdict Monday, after lawyers give closing arguments.

VIENNA, Austria

U.S., India closer to nuclear deal

India and the United States moved a decisive step closer to implementing a landmark nuclear deal Friday following approval of an inspections plan by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The deal with Washington would reverse more than three decades of U.S. policy that has barred the sale of nuclear fuel and technology to India, a country that has not signed international nonproliferation accords and has tested nuclear weapons.

To implement the deal, India must strike separate agreements with the IAEA and with the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries that export nuclear material. It then goes to Congress in Washington for approval.

Both countries hailed adoption of the IAEA safeguards agreement, which will effectively allow U.N. monitors access to a total of 14 Indian civilian nuclear reactors by 2014. Six of these reactors already fall under existing safeguards agreements.

TOKYO

U.S. nuclear sub may have leaked

The U.S. Navy has warned that a nuclear submarine may have had radioactive leaks during recent port calls in Japan’s south, the country’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was informed by the U.S. Navy that a small amount of radiation might have leaked from the nuclear-powered USS Houston as it traveled around the Pacific.

The news could cause a stir in Japan, where both the U.S. military presence and its nuclear subs are controversial.

The Houston made calls in March and April in the southern Japanese naval ports of Sasebo and Okinawa.

The ministry said leaked radioactive cooling water was detected during routine maintenance on the Houston in Hawaii in June and it was believed to have posed no threat to humans or the environment.

Sasebo city official Akihiro Yoshida said government monitoring during the submarine’s port calls showed no abnormal increase of radioactivity in the area’s waters.

“Still, we are rather concerned,” Yoshida said.

ISTANBUL, Turkey

At least 17 girls killed in dorm blast

An explosion destroyed a three-story girls’ dormitory in central Turkey on Friday, killing at least 17 students, injuring 27 and setting off a frantic search for others trapped in the rubble.

Rescuers working late into the night – removing debris with shovels, pickaxes and their bare hands – pulled out two survivors, leaving at least one girl unaccounted for.

“We won’t stop until we find her,” said Mehmet Demirgul, mayor of Balcilar where the collapse occurred.

Officials said about 45 girls between ages 8 and 16 were staying at the dormitory as they attended Quran courses during the school summer break.

Demirgul said a leaking pipe carrying liquefied petroleum gas likely caused the pre-dawn blast.

From wire reports


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email