Foreign Digest

FOREIGN DIGEST

August 31, 2004

U.S. citizens are urged to keep low profile in Kabul after bombing

KABUL, Afghanistan -- In response to a weekend car-bombing that killed 10 people, the U.S. Embassy advised Americans yesterday to limit their movements in the capital, take strict security measures and avoid "potential target areas," such as government offices, military bases and restaurants frequented primarily by foreigners.

Investigators are questioning a man detained Sunday at Kabul's airport with traces of explosives on his hands, officials said

"There is a suspicion against him, but for now there is no link or proof that he was involved" in the attack, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast at the office of DynCorp Inc., which provides bodyguards for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and works for the U.S. government in Iraq.

2 face charges in S. Africa after release in Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN, South Africa--Two South Africans acquitted by a Zimbabwe court of charges related to an alleged coup plot in Equatorial Guinea were charged yesterday with violating their country's anti-mercenary laws.

Separately, the Justice Ministry said South Africa is considering a request by Equatorial Guinea to question Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, about his alleged involvement in the foiled plot in the oil-rich West African nation.

Eighty-eight men are in custody in South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe in connection with the plot. Another suspect, a German, died in custody in Equatorial Guinea after what Amnesty International said was torture.

Hamas to help monitor Palestinian election process

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The militant group Hamas will help monitor voter registration for next year's Palestinian elections, officials said yesterday, the first time the Islamic movement has taken an official role in Palestinian Authority balloting.

Hamas, however, will not take part in the elections itself. Registration is to begin Saturday, but no date has been set for what would be the Palestinians' first elections since 1996.

IBM asks Swiss high court to block Gypsies' lawsuit

GENEVA -- Computer giant IBM said yesterday that it had asked Switzerland's highest court to block a lawsuit by Gypsies claiming the company's punch-card machines helped the Nazis more efficiently commit mass murder.

IBM's lawyers have asked the Federal Tribunal to overturn a Geneva court ruling that allowed the case to proceed.

A Gypsy group filed the suit after a 2001 book claimed the company's punch-card machines enabled the Nazis to make their killing operations more efficient. The group claims the Geneva office was IBM's hub for trade with the Nazis, which the company has denied.

At least 5 dead as typhoon batters southern Japan

TOKYO -- A powerful typhoon plowed into southern Japan yesterday, killing at least five people and injuring 73. Torrential rains and strong winds toppled trees and telephone poles, and shoved a cargo ship aground.

Typhoon Chaba, one of the year's strongest storms, churned north packing sustained winds of 79 mph, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. More than 175,000 households were without power throughout Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, about 560 miles southwest of Tokyo.

Television images showed fishing boats turned on their sides as huge waves crashed into embankments and rice paddies that were partially submerged.

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