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Archive for Saturday, July 31, 2004

Briefly

July 31, 2004

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United Nations

U.N. warns Sudan to disarm militias or face consequences

The U.N. Security Council threatened Sudan on Friday with diplomatic and economic punishment unless the government fulfills a pledge to disarm Arab militias responsible for atrocities in the Darfur region, and it gave Khartoum 30 days to prove itself.

The Sudanese government swiftly rejected the U.S.-drafted resolution, which was approved 13-0, with China and Pakistan abstaining. Sudan has insisted it is trying to curb the militias and that threats would not help.

At least 30,000 people have been killed and more than 1 million displaced in a 17-month conflict in Darfur, where pro-government Arab militias known as Janjaweed have waged a brutal campaign to drive out black African farmers.

Uzbekistan

Suicide bombers attack U.S., Israeli embassies; two killed

Suicide bombers struck the U.S. and Israeli embassies along with the top prosecutor's office Friday, killing at least two Uzbeks and wounding nine others in nearly simultaneous attacks in the capital of Uzbekistan, a close U.S. ally in the war on terror.

The attacks came as this majority Muslim country is trying 15 suspects allegedly tied to al-Qaida for a wave of violence four months ago that included the first-ever suicide attacks in Central Asia. The defendants in the trial have said the U.S. and Israeli embassies were among the targets their group planned to attack.

Virginia

Participant in assassination plot with Libya pleads guilty

A prominent Muslim activist who said he participated in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's crown prince pleaded guilty Friday to engaging in illegal business deals with Libya.

Abdurahman Alamoudi, 52, was not charged in the assassination plot. But a 20-page statement of facts spells out many elements in an elaborate killing scheme that had Alamoudi serving as a go-between for high-ranking Libyan government officials and Saudi dissidents.

The plot was exposed before it could be carried out.

Alamoudi's lawyer, Stanley Cohen, said the government conceded that his client's role was minimal.

Colorado

Commanders admit coverup but don't think Iraqi drowned

Three Army commanders admitted Friday that soldiers were told to cover up an incident in which two Iraqi civilians were forced off a bridge over the Tigris River, where family members say one of them drowned.

The commanders, all testifying under immunity, said they didn't believe anyone died.

Capt. Matthew Cunningham said soldiers under his command admitted forcing the Iraqis to jump into the river Jan. 3 as punishment for being out after curfew. He said the soldiers told him they had the Iraqis "get wet" and that "they wanted to make them miserable a little bit and walk home."

He called the suggestion that anyone drowned a "smear campaign" and said soldiers saw the civilians getting out of the river safely.

The testimony came on the third and final day of a hearing to determine whether three soldiers will be court-martialed.

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