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World Briefs: Terrorist suspect similar to Bulgarian bomber

- - Monday, July 23, 2012

NICOSIA — A man held on suspicion of helping plan attacks against Israeli tourists on Cyprus displayed behavioral patterns similar to those of a suicide bomber who killed six in a Bulgarian seaside resort, the justice minister said Monday.

Loucas Louca said the case is "very sensitive." He added that "some patterns of [the suspect's] behavior were the same as that of the terrorist in the Bulgarian terrorist attack."

Mr. Louca said the 24-year-old suspect belonged to an organization that is not on a European Union list of known terrorist groups. He declined to name the organization or give any further details because he said the investigation is ongoing.

Cyprus authorities have refused to release the man's identity or his intended target, but they have said they think he was acting alone.

State media has widely reported the suspect to be a Swedish passport holder of Lebanese descent with affiliations to Lebanon's Hezbollah, who was monitoring and recording the movements of Israeli tourists and other Israeli interests on the island.

PAKISTAN

U.S. drone attack kills six militants

MIRANSHAH — A U.S. drone attack on Monday killed at least six militants in a restive northwestern Pakistani tribal area, security officials said.

The missiles struck a compound in the Shawal area of the troubled North Waziristan tribal district on the Afghan border.

"U.S. drones fired missiles into a militant compound. At least six militants were killed," a security official said. The local intelligence officials confirmed the attack and casualties. The toll is likely to rise.

The compound in Shawal district is 30 miles southwest of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district, near the Afghan border.

Washington considers Pakistan's semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

CHINA

Activist gets hard labor in Tiananmen row

BEIJING — An activist in central China was sentenced to hard labor after opposing the government's handling of the alleged suicide of 1989 Tiananmen democracy protest leader Li Wangyang, a lawyer said Monday.

Xiao Yong was sentenced without trial to 18 months in prison on Friday in Shaoyang city after he opposed a government report released earlier this month that said Mr. Li committed suicide, rights lawyer Pang Kun said.

Mr. Li, 62, spent 22 years in jail for his role in the Tiananmen protests and was found dead under suspicious circumstances on June 6 in a Shaoyang hospital, in central China's Hunan province.

His death sparked an outpouring of protests in Hong Kong and by mainland rights activists, who refused to believe Mr. Li committed suicide. They accused hospital security guards of torturing him.

"I can't say for sure that Xiao Yong was sentenced because of the Li Wangyang incident," Mr. Pang added, "but it appears that this is the case."

The activist, a friend of Mr. Li's, had spent a month in detention earlier this year for protest activities and had been warned repeatedly by police not to get involved with the Li case before being taken in, Mr. Pang said.

JAPAN

Report faults Tepco in nuclear disaster

TOKYO — Analysts investigating Japan's nuclear disaster said Monday that the operator of the crippled plant continues to drag its feet in investigations and has tried to understate the true amount of damage at the complex.

The report, by a government-appointed panel, is the latest of several to fault Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government for doing too little to protect the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant from the massive earthquake and tsunami that set off three meltdowns there in the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

The panel of 10 independent experts in fields including radiation protection, medicine and law also said the utility has yet to address problems within its own culture that contributed to its failings in the crisis. It said Tepco employees were "not fully trained to think for themselves."

The panel said Tepco covered up unfavorable data in a computer analysis attempting to measure the extent of damage inside the reactors earlier this year. It said that in a hearing, Tepco officials acknowledged the simulation was inadequate, but they have yet to make another attempt.

The three reactors melted down after the March 11, 2011, tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling system. The nuclear disaster displaced tens of thousands of people and will take decades to clean up.

UNITED KINGDOM

Man jumps into Thames during taxi protest

LONDON — A man jumped into the River Thames during an Olympic protest by drivers of London's famed black cabs on Monday, police said.

Metropolitan Police said the man jumped into the river but was pulled out swiftly by river police. They said it was not clear if the man was a protester. The BBC, however, reported that he was a cabdriver.

Several dozen cabbies drove slowly and tooted their horns at Tower Bridge on Monday, angry that they are banned from the exclusive traffic lanes designated for Olympic athletes and officials.

The so-called "Games Lanes" around Greater London are set to come into force Wednesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports