- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

ISRAEL

Sharon brain scan shows improvement

JERUSALEM — A scan of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s brain showed improvement yesterday, doctors said.

The scan showed that the remnants of blood from Mr. Sharon’s massive cerebral hemorrhage last week had been absorbed. As a result, doctors removed a tube they inserted into Mr. Sharon’s skull to relieve pressure on his brain, the Hadassah University Medical Center said.

Ending the sedation that has kept Mr. Sharon, 77, in an induced coma is a key step toward assessing the damage, but a hospital spokesman said it was not clear when the sedation would be halted.

President Bush called acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday, speaking with him for the first time since Mr. Sharon suffered the stroke.

SPAIN

Police arrest insurgency suspect

MADRID - Spanish police said yesterday they arrested a man suspected of recruiting fighters for the Iraqi insurgency. Omar Nakhchamay, a Moroccan, may also have had links with the Madrid train bombings of 2004, police said.

In a statement, police said Nakhchamay, 23, was arrested early yesterday in the northeastern town of Santa Coloma de Gramanet. Police suspect he is the leader of two well-organized and interconnected cells - one based in Madrid and the other in the Barcelona-area town of Vilanova i la Geltru - recruiting fighters and raising money for the Iraqi insurgency.

Twenty persons were arrested Tuesday in a crackdown on the two groups, police said.

SOUTH AFRICA

Researcher suggests bird killed hominid

JOHANNESBURG — An American researcher thinks he has solved the mystery of how one of the most important human ancestors died nearly 2 million years ago: An eagle killed the 31/2-year-old ape-man known as the Taung child.

The discovery suggests small human ancestors known as hominids had to survive being hunted not only by large predators on the ground but by fearsome raptors that swooped from the sky, said Lee Berger, a senior paleoanthropologist at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand.

The discovery of the partial skull of a juvenile ape-man in South Africa’s North West Province in 1924 revealed a human ancestor species called Australopithecus africanus, which was proposed to be the “missing link” between apes and humans. The child’s death previously had been blamed on a leopard or saber-toothed cat.

GERMANY

Iraqi Kurd jailed for aiding terrorists

MUNICH — A German court convicted an Iraqi Kurd of aiding al Qaeda-linked militants who carried out suicide bombings in his home country and sentenced him yesterday to seven years in prison.

Amin Lokman Mohamed, 33, was convicted of belonging to a foreign terrorist organization and human trafficking for helping Ansar al-Islam, a group linked to al Qaeda.

The case is a first test for German counterterrorism laws toughened after it emerged that three of the September 11 hijackers had lived undetected in Hamburg. Mohamed was the first person tried for membership in a foreign terrorist group.

DENMARK

5 found guilty of abuse in Iraq

COPENHAGEN — A Danish intelligence officer and four military police sergeants were found guilty on two of four charges of abusing Iraqi prisoners but will not be punished because of “extenuating circumstances,” a Copenhagen court ruled yesterday.

Reserve Capt. Annemette Hommel, 38, and the sergeants were charged last year with subjecting Iraqi prisoners at a Danish camp in southern Iraq to ill treatment.

The judge said extenuating circumstances included vague rules about procedures and insufficient and outdated training.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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