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Gitmo inmate tried suicide, lawyer says

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The suspected “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11 attacks tried to kill himself at Guantanamo last month, his attorney disclosed yesterday , saying the Saudi prisoner was distraught over a possible death sentence for charges later dropped by the Pentagon.

Mohammed al-Qahtani cut himself at least three times and had to be hospitalized at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, lawyer Gitanjali Gutierrez said.

Al-Qahtani made the suicide attempt after learning military prosecutors filed capital charges against him and five other Guantanamo prisoners for their suspected roles in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I cannot accept this injustice,” the lawyer quoted him as saying. “If I have to stay in this jail, I want to put an end to this suffering.”


U.S. urges Tsvangirai to return home

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s opposition leader should return home to lead his campaign for president, the U.S. ambassador to the southern African country said yesterday.

Ambassador James McGee, speaking to the Associated Press in South Africa, said he understood the opposition’s security concerns — it claims its leader Morgan Tsvangirai is the target of a government assassination plot. But he said Zimbabweans who have been attacked for supporting Mr. Tsvangirai need him in the country to lead them.

Meanwhile, the government denied the assassination allegations, and an official called them “stupid.”


Fire breaks out at Philharmonic

BERLIN — A fire yesterday sent plumes of acrid gray smoke pouring from the roof of the Berlin Philharmonic’s landmark home, where musicians and firefighters rushed to save precious instruments.

The blaze broke out beneath the roof of the building over the main concert hall, which seats 2,440 and is famed for its extraordinary acoustics. There were no injuries, officials said.

Welding work had been carried out on the building’s tin roof earlier in the day, and police were investigating that as a possible cause, police spokeswoman Heike Nagora said.

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