U.S. frees 5 detaineesfrom Guantanamo
RABAT, Morocco -- Five Moroccans detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were turned over to Moroccan authorities, the north African country's official news agency reported today.
The men, who were arrested during the U.S.-led war that toppled Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban regime, returned home Sunday, the MAP news agency said. They were turned over to justice officials.
The official named the five as Mohamed Ouzar, 24; Mohamed Mazouz, 30; Radouane Chekkouri, 32; Abdellah Tabarak, 49, and Brahim Benchakroun, 24, according to MAP.
The military prison Guantanamo Bay holds about 600 inmates. Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the U.S. military's practice of holding the prisoners at Guantanamo without charges.
Criticism of Arafatreaches new level
JERUSALEM -- A powerful player in Palestinian politics and potential successor to Yasser Arafat called on the Palestinian leader to yield to growing demands for cleaner, more transparent government or face a groundswell of protest.
The remarks by Mohammed Dahlan, formerly the security chief for the Gaza Strip, were the boldest criticism of Arafat yet in weeks of internal Palestinian unrest. Dahlan stopped just short of challenging Arafat's authority, something few Palestinians of his standing have ever done openly.
In the latest example of that loyalty, gunmen broke up a meeting Sunday of West Bank activists from Arafat's own Fatah movement who were discussing the need for deep reforms in the Palestinian administration.
The gunmen identified themselves as members of the Al Awda Brigades, a small militant group loyal to Arafat, the symbol of the Palestinian national movement.
Search for bodyreturns to landfill
SALT LAKE CITY -- The investigation into a woman's disappearance took a grim turn as authorities redirected their attention to a landfill and her relatives asked volunteers to stop looking for her in response to new information from the woman's husband.
Detectives said Sunday that Mark Hacking, who is in a psychiatric ward, directed a relative to give police the information about Lori Hacking's disappearance. Authorities would only say that the relative provided "additional substantive new information," said Detective Dwayne Baird.
Police initially said they were surprised when the families of Mark and Lori Hacking released a statement Saturday asking that volunteers stop searching for 27-year-old Lori Hacking based on new detail from her husband. The statement did not say what Mark Hacking had told them.
After speaking to the relative, Baird said police would renew a search at the municipal landfill, where a quadrant was cordoned off two days after Mark Hacking reported his wife missing July 19. Three border collies, a German shepherd and Labrador retriever searched the area without luck.
NASA delays launchof Mercury orbiter
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Bad weather forced mission managers to postpone launching NASA's Messenger spacecraft on a Boeing Delta 2 rocket early today.
Managers stopped the launch because of clouds near the pad at a critical point in the countdown. The minuscule 12-second launch window left no time to try again.
NASA hopes to try again early Tuesday.
Messenger is set to begin a 4.9 billion mile journey to orbit the planet Mercury and collect data on the planet's geology and atmospheric composition. It will be the first spacecraft to visit the planet since Mariner 10 whizzed by three times in 1974 and 1975. It will also be the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet.
Launch controllers have until Aug. 14 to launch the spacecraft. After that, planetary alignment issues will postpone the launch for about a year. Upcoming launch opportunities will also have extraordinarily short launch windows.
Bus plunge kills 34
LIMA, Peru -- A bus plunged off a cliff in the Andes Mountains on Sunday, killing at least 34 passengers and injuring 21, police said.
The crash occurred shortly before dawn in a remote area known as Collopata in Peru's Ancash region, some 200 miles north of Lima. Police were searching for survivors.
Bus crashes are a frequent occurrence in Peru, where bus drivers commonly speed and pass vehicles along blind mountain curves.
Associated Press

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