Iran: N-effort advances?

Iran has assembled hundreds of advanced machines reflecting a possible intention to speed up uranium enrichment, diplomats in Vienna, Austria, have told The Associated Press.

One diplomat said more than 300 of the centrifuges have been linked up in two separate units in Iran's underground enrichment plant and a third was being assembled. He said the machines apparently are more advanced than the thousands already running underground, suggesting they could be the sophisticated IR-2 centrifuge that Tehran recently acknowledged testing.

Uranium enrichment can produce both fuel for power plants and the fissile core of nuclear warheads. Tehran insists its nuclear program is intended only to produce energy, but there is growing international concern that it could lead to the development of weapons.

Japan: U.S. sailor arrested

TOKYO — Japanese police arrested a U.S. sailor Thursday in the stabbing death of a taxi driver near an American naval base outside Tokyo, fueling anger here over crimes allegedly involving U.S. troops.

Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a 22-year-old Nigerian national, was arrested on murder and robbery charges, a local police spokesman said. The spokesman said he had confessed.

Japanese officials reacted sharply to the arrest. Public anger over the American military presence is mounting after a series of allegations against U.S. servicemen in Japan, where some 50,000 American troops are based.

Netherlands: War crimes trial

THE HAGUE — A U.N. court acquitted Kosovo's former prime minister on Thursday of murdering and torturing Serbs, clearing him to return to politics in his newly declared independent nation.

Ramush Haradinaj, 39, who was a leader of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1998-99 war, was acquitted of 37 counts of murder, torture and rape. Although the crimes were committed by KLA soldiers, Haradinaj was exonerated of responsibility and of a conspiracy to drive ethnic Serbs from Kosovo to seize complete control for ethnic Albanians.

In Belgrade, Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Haradinaj's acquittal represented a "mockery of justice" and a "new, big crime against the Serbs" in Kosovo.

Suriname: Plane crash kills 19

PARAMARIBO — A plane crashed Thursday en route to a remote gold mining region in southern Suriname, killing 19 people, officials in the South American country said.

The twin-engine Antonov AN-28, operated by Surinamese carrier Blue Wing airlines, crashed in the jungle on approach to an airstrip in the Benzdorp region, near the country's border with French Guiana, officials said.

Tibet: 'Brutally occupied'

The Dalai Lama's special envoy told lawmakers in Washington on Thursday that China must bear full responsibility for recent violence and suffering in Tibet and said his homeland is being "brutally occupied."

"The situation today is grim," Lodi Gyari said at a Congressional Human Rights Caucus briefing.

Gyari, who represents the exiled leader of Tibet's Buddhists, called on senior lawmakers to make an "urgent visit" to Tibet to help show the world the misery there and to prevent China from "marginalizing" Tibetans.