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In brief: Life term sought in Knox appeal

Perugia, Italy – Italian prosecutors asked an appeals court on Saturday to uphold the conviction of Amanda Knox for the murder of her British roommate and increase her sentence to life in prison.

The 24-year-old American sat motionless as Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola made his request. The prosecutor sought the same sentence for Knox’s co-defendant, former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, capping two days of closing arguments by the prosecutors.

A verdict is expected in early October.

Knox, of Seattle, and Sollecito, an Italian, were convicted by a lower court of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher while they were all studying in Perugia in 2007. Knox was sentenced to 26 years, Sollecito to 25 years.

They both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the 2009 verdict.

But in Italy prosecutors also can appeal, and they did so in this case. The prosecutors had sought life imprisonment, Italy’s harshest punishment, in the original trial, too.

Mount Everest tour plane crashes

Katmandu, Nepal – A plane carrying tourists to view Mount Everest crashed while attempting to land in dense fog in Nepal today, police and eyewitnesses said. A witness said 18 bodies were pulled out of the wreckage of the plane, which was carrying 19 people.

The Beechcraft-made plane belonging to Buddha Air was carrying 16 foreign tourists and three crew members and crashed in Bisankunarayan village, just a few miles south of the capital, Katmandu.

An eyewitness, Haribol Poudel, told Avenues Television that the plane had hit the roof of a house in the village and that 18 bodies were pulled out. He said a man who appeared to have survived was taken to a hospital.

Poudel said it was foggy, and that visibility was very low in the mountainous area.

Candidate wants to oppose Chavez

Caracas, Venezuela – A Venezuelan opposition leader launched his presidential campaign Saturday, challenging President Hugo Chavez to accept him in the race after a human rights court overturned a ban on his candidacy.

Leopoldo Lopez said in a speech to thousands of supporters that Chavez shouldn’t try to prevent him from running.

“Since 2008, he’s been looking for a mechanism to remove me from the political game,” Lopez said. “Mr. President, I ask myself: … Are you afraid of me?”

Venezuela’s top anti-corruption official had barred Lopez from running for office, but the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights earlier this month ordered election officials to allow him to run.

Chavez has criticized the court’s decision. Government and electoral officials say they will await a decision on the matter by Venezuela’s Supreme Court.


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