- - Thursday, May 31, 2012


Israel hands over militants’ remains

GAZA CITY — Israel on Thursday handed over to the Palestinian government the remains of 91 militants who had been killed while carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks in an effort to renew long-stalled peace talks.

The bodies had been buried in coffins in Israel and were dug up for the transfer. Seventy-nine were transported to Ramallah, which is run by the Palestinian Authority, and 12 to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which is run by the rival Islamic militant group Hamas.


Retired colonel convicted of spying for U.S.

MOSCOW — A retired Russian military officer has been convicted on charges of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to 12 years in prison, the counterintelligence agency said Thursday, the latest in a raft of espionage cases that come amid tensions between Moscow and Washington.

A court has ruled that retired Col. Vladimir Lazar will be sent to a high-security prison and stripped of his military rank, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Col. Lazar purchased several computer disks with more than 7,000 images of classified maps of Russia from a collector in 2008 and smuggled them to neighboring Belarus, where he gave them to an alleged American intelligence agent.

The FSB said the maps could be used for planning military operations against Russia. Col. Lazar had served with the General Staff of the Russian armed forces in Moscow before his retirement a decade ago.


Bomb attacks kill 18 people, wound 53

BAGHDAD — Bombs exploded at a crowded Baghdad restaurant and near a police patrol Thursday, among attacks that killed at least 18 people and wounded 53 in Iraq’s bloodiest day in more than a month, police and hospital medics said.

Five blasts hit the capital, and the northern city of Mosul was the scene of a fatal shooting attack.

Violence has decreased in Iraq since a wave of sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, but insurgents carry out frequent attacks on security forces and civilians to undermine the Shiite-led government. The violence threatens the stability of the country following the pullout of U.S. forces in December.


Body parts suspect believed to be overseas

OTTAWA — A Canadian porn actor suspected of mailing body parts from a dismembered corpse to the Conservative and Liberal party headquarters after making a video of the killing might have fled North America, police said Thursday.

Montreal Police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said authorities believe Luka Rocco Magnotta fled based on evidence they found at his apartment, and based on a blog Mr. Magnotta once wrote about how to disappear.

The 29-year-old Mr. Magnotta has been added to Interpol’s “wanted persons” list.

“We believe he may be in a foreign country,” Cmdr. Lafreniere told the Associated Press. “He left a letter on a website mentioning how to disappear for good, and secondly, our investigation brought us some details that let us think that he could be away from the country.”

Cmdr. Lafreniere said they have an idea where he might have fled but declined to say where.


Official: German hostage killed in north Nigeria

KANO — A German engineer kidnapped in northern Nigeria about five months ago and presumed held by al Qaeda-aligned terrorists has been killed during a failed rescue attempt, officials said Thursday.

Meanwhile, authorities said Wednesday that an Italian national had been abducted Monday in Kwara state, one of an increasing number of abductions targeting expatriates working in Nigeria’s Muslim northern and central regions.

Kano state police Commissioner Philemon Ibrahim Leha said the operation to free Edgar Fritz Raupach happened in the early hours of Thursday in the state capital of Kano, but he did not immediately provide further details.

A military official told the Associated Press that five people, including a woman, were killed in the operation to free Mr. Raupach. It was unclear whether he was killed before or during the rescue operation.


Reporter criticizes rebels for release as propaganda

SAN ISIDRO — A French journalist freed by leftist rebels late Wednesday said he had no complaints about his captivity other than its 33-day duration and lamented that Colombia’s war is an “invisible conflict” where the poor kill the poor.

Romeo Langlois said he was not embittered, but he criticized the rebels for using his capture for propaganda purposes.

They freed him on their movement’s 48th anniversary on a specially built stage, hanging pro-peace banners in this remote southern hamlet and organizing a barbecue.

But the rebels and the roughly 2,000 people they convened for the handover to a humanitarian commission coordinated by the International Red Cross applauded vigorously when Mr. Langlois said he appreciated how the guerrillas “live in the mud and risk their lives.”

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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