The Department of Defense said a soldier from central Florida and another from Alabama died of injuries sustained when a helicopter they were in went down in Afghanistan. The department said the two soldiers who died were Pfc. Andre D. McNair Jr., 20, of Fort Pierce, and Chief Warrant Officer James Carter, 42, of Alabama.
They died on Thursday at Kandahar Army Airfield of injuries sustained when the Kiowa helicopter they were in went down during a test flight. The incident is under investigation. They were assigned to the 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
They died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Chavez: Intelligence law will be rewritten
President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that his government will rewrite a new intelligence law to calm Venezuelan fears that the decree could be used to stifle dissent. Many Venezuelans were alarmed that the law could force them to spy on neighbors or risk prison terms. Human rights activists and representatives of Venezuela's Catholic Church have criticized the decree, saying it violates civil liberties. Chavez said his government would remove a clause in the law that requires citizens to act as informants if authorities believe they have information on national security threats — or face up to four years in prison for refusing.
Blacklist decried: Thousands of opponents of Chavez on Saturday protested a "blacklist" unveiled by Venezuela's top anti-corruption official that bars key opposition candidates from running in forthcoming elections.
To protect birds, isle eradicates brown rats
The tiny Scottish isle of Canna has successfully eradicated the island's rat population after a three-year campaign to protect the island's seabirds from the rodents, environmental officials said Saturday. The island's soaring cliffs are ideal nesting grounds and host about 15,000 seabirds from 14 different species, according to the National Trust for Scotland, which manages Canna. But the birds found themselves under threat when brown rats, accidentally introduced to the island hundreds of years ago, began appearing in greater and greater numbers, something the trust said was probably due to warmer winters. Canna, more than 25 miles off Scotland's western coast, is home to about a dozen people.
Official seeks to limit power of top court
The parliamentary speaker of Turkey on Saturday proposed a new constitution and re-establishment of an upper house of parliament, apparently with the aim of reducing the power of the country's top court. The Constitutional Court infuriated the Islamic-oriented government on Thursday by rejecting legislation that would have lifted a ban on Muslim head scarves in universities. It said the move would violate Turkey's secular principles. Speaker Koksal Toptan, speaking in a hall at the parliament, said re-installing the upper house, or Senate, would remove what he called "the pressure on the court." The Senate was abolished after Turkey's 1980 military coup on the grounds that it slowed legislation.
Officials say Bush made pledge on beef
President Bush pledged Saturday to come up with measures to ensure that beef from older cattle — considered at greater risk of mad cow disease — is not exported to South Korea, Seoul's presidential office said. Bush made the remark during a phone conversation with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak, the presidential Blue House said. Lee's government has been battered by protests over an April agreement to resume imports of U.S. beef. "President Bush said he sufficiently understands South Koreans' concerns and worries," it said, but did not reveal what the measures promised by Bush were. In Washington, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush assured Lee that the U.S. government "is cooperating closely with the South Korean government and ready to support American cattle exporters as they reach a mutually acceptable solution with Korean importers on the beef trade."
Fraud forces new vote at 193 polling stations
The State Election Commission announced late Saturday that it would nullify results from 193 polling stations after detecting fraud and other irregularities in the violence-marred parliamentary election on June 1. Commission chairman Jovan Josifovski announced a rerun vote for June 15. The reruns could determine which of the two main — and bitterly opposed — ethnic Albanian parties will be invited into a governing coalition: DUI, run by former rebel leader Ali Ahmeti, or the Democratic Party of Albanians, run by Menduh Thaci. Although Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, 37, won by a landslide 48.2 percent, enough to give him a majority in the 120-seat parliament, it is traditional to invite one of the Albanian minority's parties to join the government.
Prime minister's home comes under attack
Armed assailants trying to break into the home of Kosovo's prime minister exchanged fire with guards, but the leader was away and his family was not hurt, police said Saturday. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci condemned the assault as an attack upon his family and urged Kosovo's citizens to remain calm. Police said Thaci's security guards spotted one person trying to break into the two-story house from the balcony of the top floor. They exchanged fire with an unknown number of assailants, who did not get into the house. The attackers escaped but at least one was believed to be injured, as traces of blood were found.