Cuba: Loyalty oath?
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE A former driver for Osama bin Laden denied Wednesday that he had sworn a loyalty oath to the al-Qaida leader, contradicting potentially damaging testimony from a Defense Department interrogator.
Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni, testified at his war crimes trial that a nine-hour interrogation in May 2003 focused almost entirely on whether he swore an Islamic oath, or "bayat," to his boss, but he refused to discuss the topic. Judge Keith Allred is evaluating whether the interrogation is tainted by coercion and therefore inadmissible as evidence at the first American war crimes trial since World War II.
Georgia: Russian troops leave
SUKHUMI About 400 Russian troops left a separatist-held region of Georgia on Wednesday after completing restoration work on a railroad linking Abkhazia with Russia.
The unarmed Defense Ministry personnel entered Abkhazia in May and early June in a move Georgia called an aggressive step. Russia has thousands of peacekeepers stationed there and accuses Georgia of preparing an invasion.
Haiti: Standoff ends quietly
CAP-HAITIEN Former soldiers who had seized a building in northern Haiti changed out of their uniforms and peacefully filed out Wednesday, ending a tense standoff of nearly 24 hours after negotiations with government officials.
The protesters were seeking back wages and the reinstatement of the Haitian armed forces. U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police loaded the protesters onto two yellow school buses to take them out of the area.
Iraq: Special meeting set
BAGHDAD Iraqi lawmakers on Wednesday scheduled an emergency weekend meeting during summer recess to resolve disagreements that have blocked a provincial elections law and threaten a new wave of bloodshed in the disputed northern city of Kirkuk.
Parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani scheduled a special meeting for Sunday after a deadline passed for the elections law to be ratified in time for the lawmakers' monthlong summer break, which began after Wednesday's session.
"The committee discussing Kirkuk could not find a solution and has asked for more time," al-Mashhadani said. "The problem of Kirkuk is a complicated one, and failure to reach a solution will lead to more bloodshed."
Netherlands: Karadzic's trial
THE HAGUE Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader accused of war crimes including genocide, will appear at the U.N. tribunal in The Hague today.
Karadzic, 63, was flown to the Netherlands Wednesday from Serbia to stand trial. He was arrested by Serbian agents on July 21 in Belgrade and handed over to the Special War Crimes Court there.
New Zealand: Autonomy talks
WELLINGTON A rebellious New Zealand Maori tribe entered into negotiations with the government Thursday in a bid to gain autonomy over its land.
Ngai Tuhoe is the only Maori tribe that refused to sign the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, which established peaceful relations between New Zealand's indigenous groups and white settlers. Tuhoe still insists it retains sovereign control over its culture and its lands in central North Island, which it claims were confiscated illegally by settlers in the 1800s.
Sudan: Helicopters sought
KHARTOUM A Darfur advocacy group complained Wednesday that nations aren't doing enough to help the U.N. peacekeeping mission for the stricken Sudanese region, urging them to provide helicopters and other equipment needed to protect civilians.
The report is written by aviation expert Thomas Withington and was released by the Save Darfur Coalition. It said military powers like the U.S., Britain and France are tied down in wars and other peacekeeping operations. But it singled out the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania, Spain, Ukraine and India, saying they have suitable aircraft needed for the mission.