Archive for Saturday, January 11, 2003

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January 11, 2003

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New York: Suspect in alleged terror cell guilty of al-Qaida connection

One of six men charged with being part of a terrorist sleeper cell in western New York pleaded guilty Friday to supporting al-Qaida by attending one of its training camps in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Faysal Galab, 26, entered the surprise plea after a daylong series of negotiations with prosecutors. He is expected to testify against the other defendants.

Galab admitted to willfully and illegally contributing support to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Galab and five other Yemeni-American men, all in their 20s and from suburban Lackawanna, were indicted in October on federal charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If Galab fully cooperates with the government, it will recommend a sentence of seven years in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for April 30.

Istanbul: Turkey to allow base survey

After months of hesitation, Turkey announced Friday that a 150-person U.S. military team would be allowed into the country to inspect Turkish bases where the United States has asked to station the 80,000 combat troops who would open a northern front in a war against Iraq.

The long-delayed site survey, expected to begin as soon as Monday and last 10 days, is the first step toward bringing U.S. forces to Iraq's northern frontier, as desired by the White House. Turkey, which borders Iraq for 250 miles, is a longtime U.S. strategic ally and fellow NATO member, but it has resisted a decision on whether to be host to American forces during an Iraq campaign.

Venezuela: Chavez threatens to seize food plants, fires oil workers

President Hugo Chavez threatened Friday to send soldiers to seize control of food-production facilities and also fired 700 workers from the state oil monopoly, hoping to break a 40-day-old strike intended to oust him.

Venezuela's opposition began a general strike Dec. 2 to demand that Chavez resign and call elections. The strike has caused food shortages.

The strike also has paralyzed the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, where at least 30,000 of the state company's 40,000 workers are off the job.

Chavez fired 700 workers from the state oil monopoly Friday after earlier firing 300.

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