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Ayatollah Fadlallah survived several assassination attempts, including a 1985 car bomb that killed 80 people in south Beirut. U.S. news reports said the attack was carried out by a U.S.-trained Lebanese unit after attacks on U.S. targets in Lebanon.


Japan asked to pay more for Marine move

TOKYO | The United States has asked Japan to help shoulder hundreds of millions of dollars in additional fees to transfer Marines from a controversial base on Okinawa island to Guam, Kyodo News reported.

The extra money — needed to help pay for electricity, water and sewerage facilities at the new site — could add further uncertainty to the future of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, which has strained the security alliance that Japan and the U.S. sealed 50 years ago.

Debate over a relocation plan for the base, which currently sits in the middle of a city in Okinawa, led to repeated mass protests and was a major factor in Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s resignation last month. Under the existing deal, 8,000 Marines and their dependents will move to the U.S. territory of Guam, and some facilities will shift to a less-populated part of the Japanese island.

Japan agreed in 2006 to pay more than $6 billion of the $10 billion the move was expected to cost.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asked Tokyo last month to help pick up the tab for the higher-than-expected infrastructure costs at the new base, Kyodo News said, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.

Kyodo said that would likely cost Japan an additional hundreds of millions of dollars. The country’s massive debt and struggling economy are a major issue in national elections set for this month, and any additional financial burden for the already sensitive Okinawa base issue would draw strong criticism at home.


Pirates release 12 foreign sailors

LAGOS | Twelve foreign sailors taken hostage off Nigeria’s oil-rich and restive southern delta were safely released Sunday, a Nigerian naval spokesman said.

Commodore David Nabaida told the Associated Press that all the men were in good condition after pirates dropped them onto a fishing trawler off the coast of the Niger Delta. The captain of the trawler then informed naval authorities of their release.

The Seafarers Union of Russia said the crew aboard the BBC Palonia consisted of seven Russians, two Germans, and a Latvian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian.

Commodore Nabaida said that the men will be interviewed, but all appeared to be in good health. He said he had no information on whether a ransom had been paid to secure the men’s release. Most hostages are released unharmed in these types of kidnappings after some sort of a ransom is paid.

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