Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Death penalty case is set in attack on ship
A senior Pentagon official Wednesday referred the first death penalty case under President Barack Obama for trial by military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was charged in April by military prosecutors with murder, terrorism and other violations of the laws of war for his role in the October 2000 al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. Nashiri, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent, is one of 15 high-value detainees held at Guantanamo, and prosecutors allege that he was "in charge of the planning and preparation" of the Cole attack. Two suicide bombers in a small boat pulled alongside the Navy destroyer in the port of Aden, and the ensuing blast, which ripped a 30-by-30-foot hole in the ship, killed 17 American sailors.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia
Embassy warns of terror plot
The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia is warning American citizens that a terrorist group may be planning to kidnap Westerners in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The embassy on Wednesday urged Americans in the kingdom to "exercise prudence and enhanced security awareness at all times." No further details of the possible plot were given. Saudi Arabia has waged a heavy crackdown on Islamist militants since al-Qaida's Saudi branch launched a wave of attacks in the country in 2003. At least 11 Americans were among the dozens of Saudis and foreigners killed.
King overturns whipping verdict
Saudi King Abdullah has overturned a court verdict that sentenced a Saudi woman to be lashed 10 times for defying the kingdom's ban on women driving, the Associated Press reported it was told by a Saudi official. A day earlier, a Saudi court found Shaima Jastaina guilty of violating the driving ban and sentenced her to 10 lashes. It was the first time a legal punishment had been handed down for breaking the longtime ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation. No laws prohibit women from driving, but conservative religious edicts have banned it.
Court upholds antiabortion law
Mexico's supreme court on Wednesday let stand an antiabortion amendment to the Baja California state constitution that says life begins at conception and effectively bans elective abortions in the northern border state. The ruling appeared to allow Mexican states to decide individually on the abortion question; 16 of Mexico's 31 states have adopted amendments that severely restrict abortions, though almost all continue to allow it under some circumstances like rape or danger to a mother's life. Only Mexico City has legalized abortion on demand in the first trimester.
France bars extradition: France must not extradite Agathe Habyarimana, the widow of Rwanda's former President Juvenal Habyarimana, who has been sought by Rwandan prosecutors in connection with the African country's 1994 genocide, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Bolivians reproach Morales: Tens of thousands of Bolivians took to the streets in major cities Wednesday to heap reproach on President Evo Morales over a police crackdown on indigenous protesters that badly damaged the leftist leader's credibility.