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BRUSSELS — NATO urged Pakistan yesterday to improve security on its border with Afghanistan after a rise in cross-border attacks by Taliban fighters and al Qaeda militants.

“The number of attacks is up significantly from the same period last year,” said the alliance’s chief spokesman, James Appathurai. “There is not enough effectiveness in border control on Pakistan’s side.”

“The concerns have been communicated to Pakistan,” he told reporters.

He said the level of attacks from across the border — where Taliban fighters and al Qaeda militants control some of their operations — climbed to a high in April close to figures recorded during peak fighting last summer.


7 men convicted on terror charges

PARIS — A Parisian street preacher, a French youth who lost a forearm and an eye in Iraq, a pizza-delivery man who once considered jihad and four others were convicted in Paris yesterday on terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq’s insurgency.

The seven men — five Frenchmen, an Algerian and a Moroccan, all between 24 and 40 years old — were sentenced to between 18 months and seven years in prison. They were convicted of “criminal association with a terrorist enterprise,” a broad charge that carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

Most acknowledged going to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 or planning to go, but all denied accusations that they were involved in a cell recruiting French fighters for Iraq’s insurgency.

The judge, however, found ample evidence for convictions.


Government in row over head scarves

COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s government said yesterday it will prepare legislation that would bar judges from wearing Islamic head scarves and religious symbols in court.

Although the law would also ban crucifixes, Jewish skullcaps, and turbans, it highlights ongoing debate over Islamic traditions in Denmark, an issue that gained world attention in 2006 when Danish caricatures of the prophet Muhammad triggered violent protests in Muslim countries.

Although there are no known cases of a judge in Denmark wearing a traditional Muslim head scarf known as a hijab, Justice Minister Lene Espersen said the law was needed because judges “must appear neutral and impartial” in court.

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