Court increases sentences for 23 Americans
An Italian appeals court on Wednesday increased the sentences against 23 Americans convicted in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect. The court added one year to the eight-year term handed down to former Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and two years to the five-year terms given to 22 other Americans, defense lawyers said. The Americans were never in Italian custody and were tried and convicted in absentia. The convictions were the first in the world against people involved in the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries. The Americans and two Italians were convicted last year in the kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003. The cleric was transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released.
Protesters halt flights, buses
Greek unions grounded flights, kept ferries docked at ports and shut down public services Wednesday to protest wage cuts as the government sticks to conditions of an international bailout. Protesters clashed with police in Athens and air-traffic controllers walked off the job, canceling all flights to and from Athens International Airport. Public transport workers, whose salaries were cut 10 percent under a bill approved early Wednesday in Parliament, worked on and off between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to carry protesters to rallies.
Seoul, South Korea
Nationwide air raid drill tests security
Air raid sirens blared, traffic stopped, fighter planes roared overhead and schoolchildren were hustled into subway stations Wednesday as South Korea, still tense after an artillery exchange with North Korea three weeks ago, held its biggest civil defense drill in decades. The nationwide exercise, which lasted 20 minutes, was organized after the North Korean artillery strike Nov. 23 on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, in which two marines and two civilians were killed.
Six are accused in election violence
The International Criminal Court on Wednesday named six prominent Kenyans as suspects in the ethnically fueled violence that left more than 1,000 people dead after a disputed 2007 presidential election. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court's chief prosecutor, has requested that the court summon the men to face charges including murder, rape and torture. The six are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president; former Minister for Higher Education William Ruto; Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey; cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura; former police Chief Mohammed Hussein Ali; and Joshua Arap Seng, a radio personality.
Germany to scrap conscription: In its biggest military reform in more than 50 years, Germany plans to end conscription next summer and trim down from 250,000 troops to a volunteer force of 185,000.
Storm damages Israeli sites: A three-day storm of near-hurricane strength caused extensive damage to Israeli archaeological sites, including the 2,000-year-old Caesarea Crusader fortress, an Israel Antiquities Authority official said.