2 U.S.-based scholarsconvicted of spying
BEIJING -- Two U.S. residents were convicted today of spying for Taiwan and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the state news agency reported, casting a pall over a visit this weekend by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Gao Zhan and Qin Guangguang "both collected intelligence for spy agencies in Taiwan, causing a serious threat to China's national security," the Xinhua news agency said in the first official confirmation of their sentences.
A Chinese scholar, Qu Wei, also was sentenced to 13 years in prison, Xinhua said.
China has detained at least five Chinese-born academics and writers with U.S. links over the past year, straining already fraying ties. President Bush has appealed to his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, for their release.
Mandela diagnosedwith prostate cancer
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, though the cancer should not pose a threat to his life, Mandela's foundation announced today. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will undergo a seven week radiotherapy course to treat the microscopic cancer in his prostate, according to a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The cancer was not of a high grade and should not decrease Mandela's life span, the statement said. Mandela will not require chemotherapy or surgery, it said. Since retiring from the presidency in 1999, Mandela, 83, has maintained an extremely active schedule, regularly traveling overseas and mediating peace efforts in Burundi. He is also writing a second autobiography.
Last November, Mandela's doctors said they had discovered high protein levels in his blood, a possible indicator of prostate cancer. They discovered the microscopic cancer in a subsequent examination.
Israeli soldiers faceharassment charges
BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- At least eight cases have been filed against Israeli soldiers for abuse and harassment of Palestinians at military checkpoints in recent months and more are pending, Israeli military officials said.
Palestinians and human rights workers in the West Bank say checkpoint harassment has been common in the past 10 months of fighting, including soldiers locking people in their cars for hours in the sun with windows rolled up, confiscating their keys, slashing their tires and stopping all cars from passing for hours at a time. The army is trying to post older reserve soldiers at the crossings since they are often less "hot-tempered," a military officer told The Associated Press on Monday on condition of anonymity. The officer would not discuss what the cases allege, but said there are more pending beyond the eight already filed.
1 girl dead, 2 missing in swimming accident
NEW YORK -- Divers searched today for two young sisters, ages 12 and 16, who disappeared while swimming in an inlet off the New York coast. Their 13-year-old cousin died after she was pulled from the water.
The three girls -- all from Paterson, N.J. -- were swimming in the Rockaway Inlet, in Queens, when they were swept away by the current Monday as their uncle and cousins watched from the shore.
Rescue workers were still searching for 12-year-old Shajeda and 16-year-old Jubeda Ahmed. The third girl, 13-year-old Rahela Begum, was rescued but died at a hospital.
MIAMI -- The spokeswoman of the nation's largest and most powerful Cuban exile group has resigned, accusing the group's leader and his closest allies of dictating policy despite the objections of other top members.
Ninoska Perez Castellon said Monday that she had considered resigning as spokeswoman of the Cuban American National Foundation for more than a year. Her departure after 15 years as a fiery and highly visible figure comes amid growing tension in the group over how it should approach its opposition to the Cuban President Fidel Castro. Jorge Mas Santos, the foundation's leader, has been accused of softening its anti-Castro stance, in part by supporting the plan to hold the Latin Grammys in Miami.
Many members of Miami's Cuban community opposed holding the Latin Grammys there because the ceremony would involve musicians based in Cuba. They argued that showcasing Cuban musicians might benefit Castro. Perez Castellon, who left the foundation last Thursday, said her breaking point was the group's support of the Latin Grammy Awards being held in Miami.