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Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2005

Briefly - World

July 16, 2005

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Colombia

Police capture reputed cocaine cartel leader

Police captured a suspected leader of a drug cartel believed to have trafficked half the cocaine sold in the United States in the 1990s, officials said Friday.

Commandos acting on a tip seized Jose Aldemar Rendon as he was jogging Thursday outside Medellin, Colombia's second largest city some 155 miles northwest of the capital, said police Col. Jaime Gutierrez.

Rendon, accused of being a leader of the Norte del Valley cartel, was on a list of alleged cocaine kingpins sought by U.S. authorities under a court order handed down in New York. The U.S. government offered up to $5 million reward for his capture.

Gutierrez said reward money will be paid to an informer who helped authorities track down Rendon.

United Nations

Oil-for-food probe finds gross mismanagement

Investigators probing the U.N. oil-for-food program have found evidence of "gross mismanagement" and possible corruption by the U.N. agency that oversaw compensation for victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq's deputy U.N. ambassador said Friday.

Investigators with the Independent Inquiry Committee had been investigating hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable expenditures by the U.N. Compensation Commission for months. It had denied any wrongdoing.

But Fesial al-Istrabadi told The Associated Press that the investigators found the allegations were legitimate, particularly in how the commission handled currency exchange rates with the Iraqi dinar. It had fluctuated wildly in recent years.

"There appear to have been some irregularities that are at the very least gross mismanagement at the level of currency exchange," al-Istrabadi told The Associated Press.

Jamaica

Atlantic's second major storm taking its toll

Jamaicans rushed to stock up on emergency supplies and officials urged coastal areas evacuated Friday as a slightly weakened Hurricane Emily churned toward the Caribbean island after ravaging Grenada.

Packing winds of 115 mph, the second major hurricane of the Atlantic season came unusually early and made its presence felt hundreds of miles away, unleashing heavy surf, gusty winds and torrential rains on islands both sides of the Caribbean sea.

The category 3 storm was nearly 400 miles southeast of Jamaica's capital and was moving westward at nearly 20 mph, with a turn toward the northwest expected to take it very close to Jamaica on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

If Emily continues on the same path, the storm will make landfall sometime Wednesday between Tuxpan, Mexico, and Galveston, Texas, about a 600-mile span, hurricane center spokesman Frank Lepore said.

Grenada - still recovering from the devastation of last year's Hurricane Ivan - declared a national disaster Friday, a day after Emily destroyed at least 16 homes, blasted out windows, sheared off roofs and flooded two hospitals and scores of other buildings.

Jerusalem

Archaeologist led to pieces of biblical scroll

A secretive encounter with a Bedouin robber in a desert valley led to what an Israeli archaeologist hailed Friday as one of the most important biblical finds from the region in a half century.

The discovery of two fragments from a nearly 2,000-year-old parchment scroll give rise to hope that the Judean Desert may yield more treasures, said Professor Chanan Eshel, an archaeologist from Tel Aviv's Bar Ilan University.

The two small pieces of brown animal skin, inscribed in Hebrew with verses from the Book of Leviticus, are from "refugee" caves in Nachal Arugot, a canyon near the Dead Sea where Jews hid from the Romans in the second century, Eshel said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The scrolls are being tested by Israel's Antiquities Authority.

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