In brief: Passenger train derails; scores hurt
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia – A Russian passenger train has derailed while traveling from Siberia to Sochi, the future Olympic city on the Black Sea, and emergency officials said more than 70 people were injured.
Oleg Fedyura of the Emergencies Ministry said the engine and five passenger cars derailed shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday as the train approached the Krylovskaya station. He said the rails were affected by the heat and the driver prevented further casualties by applying the emergency brakes.
Deported cleric denies charges
AMMAN, Jordan – A radical Muslim preacher described as a key al-Qaida operative in Europe rejected terrorism charges Sunday, his lawyer said, hours after Britain deported him to bring an end to a decadelong legal saga over his extradition.
After nearly two hours of questioning, Jordanian prosecutors charged Abu Qatada, 53, with conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Jordan twice – once in 1999 for a foiled plot against the American school in Amman and another time in 2000 for allegedly targeting Israeli and American tourists and Western diplomats during new year celebrations.
In both cases, Abu Qatada was convicted in absentia years ago and sentenced to life in prison. With his return, those sentences have been suspended and he will receive a new trial.
Israeli plan limits draft exemptions
JERUSALEM – Israel’s Cabinet has approved a plan that would gradually end a contentious system that grants automatic draft exemptions to Jewish ultra-Orthodox seminary students.
Under a long-standing system, thousands of young men are allowed to skip compulsory military service to pursue religious studies. This has caused widespread resentment among secular Jewish Israelis.
The new system, which needs parliamentary approval, would reduce the number of exemptions and require ultra-Orthodox men to register for service. It would go into effect in three years.
The draft was a central issue in January elections and propelled Yesh Atid, the secular rights party behind the new regulations, into the government.
Ultra-Orthodox religious leaders condemned the decision, charging it would infringe on their lifestyle.