- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2008

AFGHANISTAN

Bike bomb targets Pakistani consulate

KABUL | An explosives-rigged bicycle detonated outside a Pakistani consulate in western Afghanistan on Thursday, wounding two people at the gates of the building, officials said.

Pakistan’s government, which has had tense relations with Afghanistan, was quick to remind the Afghan government of its duty to protect diplomatic offices. The Afghan government said it also “strongly condemned the blast.”

The explosives detonated outside the gates of the consulate in the city of Herat. No one was injured inside the consulate, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul said.

CUBA

Interrogation allowed to aid terror case

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE | A U.S. military judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors can use a disputed interrogation to support their case against a former driver for Osama bin Laden in the first Guantanamo war crimes trial.

Attorneys for Salim Ahmed Hamdan said the May 2003 interrogation, in which prosecutors claim he swore allegiance to bin Laden, was not reliable and should not be admitted into evidence.

The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, did not immediately release his ruling and did not explain his reasoning in open court. The ruling cleared the way for Robert McFadden, an agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, to describe the interrogation to jurors as the final prosecution witness.

Mr. Hamdan, a Yemeni, faces up to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy and aiding terrorism.

JAPAN

Navy captain fired after mishap on ship

TOKYO | The U.S. Navy has fired the captain of the first U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be stationed abroad after a fire onboard injured dozens of sailors and raised alarm in host Japan.

The USS George Washington is set to arrive in late September in Yokosuka, a naval hub near Tokyo, despite public protests in the only nation to have sustained nuclear attack.

The U.S. Navy, releasing details of an investigation, said a fire in May in waters off South America was caused when crew members smoked near improperly stored flammable liquids.

A Navy statement Wednesday said it was relieving Capt. David C. Dykhoff as commanding officer. One sailor suffered first- and second-degree burns, while 37 others were treated for minor injuries. The carrier needed $70 million in repairs at a dockyard in San Diego, delaying its arrival in Japan.

CANADA

Bus passenger stabbed, decapitated

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE | A man aboard a Greyhound bus repeatedly stabbed and then decapitated a fellow passenger, witnesses said Thursday.

Police made an arrest in the killing, which occurred Wednesday night aboard a bus traveling from Edmonton, Alberta, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Passenger Garnet Caton said a man stabbed the person sitting next to him dozens of times and then severed the victim’s head with a large knife.

A Greyhound spokeswoman said 37 passengers and one driver were on the bus.

RUSSIA

‘California’ wiped off the map

MOSCOW | California will no longer exist on the Russian map.

Russia’s northwestern region of Nizhny Novgorod has decided to eliminate the tiny village of California because of the lack of inhabitants, ITAR-Tass news agency reported Thursday.

The village was set up in the 19th century by a Russian landowner as a snub to the government for selling Alaska to the United States in 1867, Tass said.

The once vibrant village has been in decline since the Soviet collapse, and the last of its residents left in 2000 to seek better lives elsewhere.

IRAQ

Troops to face tribunal in killings

BERLIN | Four American soldiers accused of involvement in the slaying of prisoners in Iraq will be brought before a military tribunal in Germany, the Army said Thursday.

The enlisted soldiers are scheduled for an Article 32 hearing Aug. 26 to determine whether there is enough evidence to court-martial them on charges of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, the Army said.

The four - Staff Sgt. Jess Cunningham, Sgt. Charles Quigley, Spc. Stephen Ribordy and Spc. Belmor Ramos of the Germany-based 172nd Infantry Brigade - have not entered pleas.

The charges stem from allegations that they were part of a unit that killed “male detainees of apparent Middle-Eastern descent” between March 10 and April 16, 2007, in and around Baghdad, the Army said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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