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LEBANON

Opposition wins seat in elections

BEIRUT — Lebanon's opposition captured one of two parliament seats up for election yesterday in a showdown between the U.S.-backed government and opponents supported by Syria and Iran.

Voters picked candidates to replace Pierre Gemayel, a Christian who was fatally shot in November, and Walid Eido, a Sunni Muslim killed in a Beirut car bomb in June.

The government said Amin Gemayel, Pierre's father and a former key member of the ruling coalition, had lost narrowly to Maronite Christian Kamil Khoury, a political newcomer.

The pro-government coalition retained its seat in Beirut. Mohammed al-Amin Itani, a candidate of parliament majority leader Saad Hariri's Future Movement, won easily after the opposition did not officially sponsor a candidate.

CUBA

Returned defectors won't be punished

HAVANA — Cuban leader Fidel Castro promised yesterday that two star boxers who abandoned their team and defected during the Pan-American Games would not be punished.

Guillermo Rigondeaux, two-time bantamweight Olympic champion, and welterweight world champion Erislandy Lara were flown back to Cuba after being arrested near Rio de Janeiro for not having travel documents.

The boxers "will be offered good jobs in sports in line with their knowledge and experience," Mr. Castro wrote in the state-run media.

JAPAN

Abe says sorry over nuclear remark

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized yesterday for the first time over his former defense minister's suggestion that the U.S. nuclear attacks on Japan were justified.

Mr. Abe also promised in a private meeting with survivors in Hiroshima to expand medical support for those still suffering the effects of the 1945 blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Then-Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said in a June speech that without the attacks, Japan would have otherwise kept fighting and lost a greater part of its northern territory to the Soviet Union.

WEST BANK

Al Aqsa militiamen said mostly disarmed

RAMALLAH — Most gunmen with ties to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement have given up their weapons as part of an amnesty deal, a senior Palestinian security official said yesterday.

The amnesty for gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has been an important confidence booster as Israel seeks to improve relations with moderate leaders in the West Bank.

More than 300 Al Aqsa gunmen have surrendered their weapons to Palestinian authorities and pledged to refrain from violence, said a senior Palestinian security official.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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