Inspectors in Syria cite progress
BEIRUT -- International inspectors racing to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile said Thursday they have made "encouraging initial progress" in their mission, and they hope to start onsite inspections and to begin disabling equipment within a week.
An advance team of disarmament experts arrived in Syria on Tuesday to begin laying the foundations for a broader operation charged with dismantling and ultimately destroying President Bashar Assad's chemical program over the next nine months.
The first step in the undertaking -- endorsed by a United Nations Security Council resolution last week -- is to scrap Syria's capacity to manufacture chemical weapons by Nov. 1.
Plot suspect extradited
WASHINGTON -- A member of al-Qaida who allegedly met with Osama bin Laden in 2001 has been extradited to the U.S. to face charges that he conspired to carry out a suicide bomb attack against Americans in Europe.
Nizar Trabelsi, 43, a Tunisian national, was arrested in Belgium on Sept. 13, 2001, two days after the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. He has spent the past 12 years in custody in Belgium, where he served time on Belgian charges.
A federal indictment unsealed Thursday says Mr. Trabelsi met in the spring of 2001 with bin Laden to volunteer for a suicide bomb attack against U.S. interests. He appeared at a court hearing late Thursday afternoon.
No 'Israeli nationhood'
JERUSALEM -- There is no such thing as "Israeli nationhood," Israel's Supreme Court has ruled, putting to an end a 40-year legal battle but leaving fundamental questions about national identity and the character of the country very much open.
The court on Wednesday rejected a petition by a group of Israelis to change the ethnic registration on their identity cards from "Jewish" to "Israeli." Some Arab citizens joined the petition, also asking to be listed as "Israeli."
Israel's population ledger lists all citizens as Israeli. But under the section of leom -- a Hebrew term for nationhood or ethnicity -- state authorities automatically register Arabs as "Arab" and Jews as "Jewish."
Car bombing kills 15
PARACHINAR, Pakistan -- A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into the compound of a rival militant commander in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing 15 people and wounding six others, a government official said.
The commander, Nabi Hanfi, was not present at the time of the attack. He has been battling the Pakistani Taliban in the Orakzai tribal area where the bombing occurred.
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack.
Concerns about dam
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Ethiopia's plan to build Africa's biggest hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River must address concerns that there may be flaws in the design of its foundations, a group of international experts said.
They also called for further studies on what impact the 6,000-megawatt, $4.7 billion project may have on the downstream nations of Sudan and Egypt, the International Panel of Experts said in a report emailed to Bloomberg News and verified by Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for almost all of its water, expressed alarm about the dam when Ethiopia in May diverted the Blue Nile as part of the construction process.
-- Compiled from news services