- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2006

LEBANON

Maps, bomb plans found for New York

BEIRUT — Lebanese authorities found maps and bombing plans on the personal computer of an al Qaeda suspect accused of plotting to attack New York train tunnels, a senior Lebanese official said.

Acting Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said in a television interview that Assem Hammoud’s computer “contained maps and bombing plans that were being prepared.”

Lebanese security officials also told the Associated Press that they obtained “important information” from Hammoud’s computer and CDs seized from his office at the Lebanese International University, where he taught economics.

Officials said Hammoud, 31, confessed to the plot, and to swearing allegiance to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

SPAIN

Traditional marriage brings cheers for Pope

VALENCIA — In a visit billed as a mini-showdown with Spain’s Socialist government, Pope Benedict XVI drove home the importance of the traditional family before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims yesterday, insisting that marriage must be between a man and woman.

During a 26-hour trip, the pope met with Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose government has legalized homosexual “marriage.”

Government officials described the talks as cordial and said no criticism was exchanged. There was no comment from the Vatican.

At an open-air Mass before leaving for Rome, Benedict reiterated that the family was “founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman.”

AFGHANISTAN

Canadians, Afghans battle Taliban

KANDAHAR — Hundreds of Canadian and Afghan soldiers raided Taliban strongholds throughout southern orchards yesterday, sparking fighting that killed at least 15 militants and one Canadian.

Two Canadian soldiers were wounded in Kandahar province’s Zharew district, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in an ongoing anti-Taliban offensive being waged across southern Afghanistan.

Canadian Cpl. Anthony Boneca was killed in the Pasmhol village in Zharew during a “combined coalition-Afghan operation” against the Taliban, said military spokesman Maj. Marc Theriault.

At least 18 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

MEXICO

Vote recount looking doubtful

MEXICO CITY — A recount of Mexico’s presidential vote, as demanded by loser Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, would not be practical, Mexico’s top election judge said in an interview published yesterday.

“It is not legally valid to unpack the votes and do a recount,” Leonel Castillo, who presides over the Federal Electoral Tribunal, told Milenio Semanal in an interview before the election.

Mr. Lopez Obrador said his campaign planned to file a legal challenge yesterday with the Federal Electoral Tribunal and that officials with his Party of the Democratic Revolution were also to take the case to Mexico’s Supreme Court, which can issue recommendations to the tribunal, the final arbiter of electoral disputes.

On Saturday, a massive crowd, estimated at 280,000 by authorities and 400,000 by organizers, protested the conservative victory in Mexico City’s huge central Zocalo square and neighboring streets.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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