Afghanistan: Chief targeted

KANDAHAR — A suicide bomber blew himself up next to a police convoy in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing four civilians and wounding eight other people, an official said.

A U.S.-coalition member and another civilian died in a separate roadside blast, also in the south.

The suicide bomber was targeting the district police chief in Musa Qala in Helmand province, but instead killed four civilians, said provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal. Eight other people, including five policemen were wounded, he said. The police chief was not harmed, Andiwal said.

Cuba: U.S. funding dissent

HAVANA — Cuba has documented proof that U.S. officials on the island are delivering private funds to political dissidents in order to undermine the communist government, Cuban officials said Sunday.

Although Cuba has accused U.S. officials of funneling federal funds to dissidents before — a charge Washington has repeatedly denied — Sunday's accusation is the first to suggest American diplomats are acting as couriers to deliver privately donated cash, outside Washington's auditing oversight.

Egypt: Bin Laden speaks again

CAIRO — Osama bin Laden released a new message on Sunday denouncing Arab leaders for sacrificing the Palestinians and saying the head of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah did not really have the strength to take on Israel.

In his second audio message in three days focusing on the Palestinians, the al-Qaida leader said the only way to liberate Palestine is to fight the Arab regimes that are protecting Israel. And he called on Muslim militants in Egypt to help break the blockade of Gaza.

Bin Laden said Muslims should ignore the Islamic prohibition against raising arms against fellow Muslims, claiming it was legitimate to rise up against leaders who are not governing according to Islamic law.

Italy: Health risks assessed

ROME — The U.S. military in Naples is sampling tap water and soil for pesticides and other pollutants because of worries that tons of uncollected garbage poses a health risk for its personnel based in the city.

Samples were taken earlier this month from sinks and yards of residences used by Navy and civilian military employees, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder said Sunday.

The samples were sent to Germany for laboratory analyses, and the results are expected later this month or in early June. Snyder said Navy personnel had been anxious about possible health effects, although no link has been found so far to such complaints as rash or itchy eyes, Snyder said.

Kuwait: Hardliners make gains

KUWAIT CITY — Muslim hardliners made strong gains in Kuwait's parliamentary elections while female candidates failed once again to win any seats, official results showed Sunday.

Religious conservatives, both Sunnis and Shiites, gained two seats to hold 24 — nearly half of the 50-member parliament, according to results read on state-owned Kuwait Television.

Westernized liberals kept their four seats and came close to sending the first woman to the parliament of this small, oil-rich U.S. ally.

Myanmar: Leaders sees camps

YANGON — The leader of Myanmar's ruling junta made his first visit to a refugee camp Sunday, patting the heads of babies and shaking hands with cyclone survivors, amid growing international criticism over the government's handling of the crisis.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, rebuffed so far in attempts to discuss the situation with the junta's leaders, announced he would go to the disaster zone Wednesday to try to ramp up aid efforts.

A senior British official hinted a breakthrough may also be near that would allow foreign military ships to join the relief effort, but warnings grew of a potential second wave of death among children hard-hit by the lack of fresh water and proper shelter. At least 78,000 people were killed in the May 2-3 storm and another 56,000 are missing.

DESERET NEWS, MONDAY, MAY 19, 2008