World

In a rare show of unity, more than 100 Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis joined in declaring this week's terrorist attacks "abominable" and another in a series of attempts "to sow sedition among Muslims and divide them." The signed statement came as Iraqi police and US soldiers captured former intelligence officer Sami Ahmed and 13 others wanted in connection with terrorist attacks in Baqouba, a "Sunni triangle" hotbed of anti-American sentiment.

Much of Haiti's capital was calm again as US marines and French troops patroled its streets and the leader of the rebel forces pledged to return home to the No. 2 city, Cap- Haitien. But slums in the capital remained dangerous because of bitter and heavily armed supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile, the government estimated the cost of the month-long rebellion at $300 million, about the size of its annual budget.

The only guilty finding so far in a case involving the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was overturned by a criminal court in Germany. It ruled that a Moroccan convicted last year of aiding a Hamburg cell of Al Qaeda members - three of whom hijacked passenger jets used in those attacks - should have a new trial. But in ordering the case returned to a Hamburg court, the presiding judge said Mounir El Motassadeq "is certainly far from being clear of suspicion." El Motassadeq, who admits knowing the hijackers, argued that the case against him was flawed because evidence given by a key witness in US custody was withheld on grounds that it was sensitive intelligence.

Five years ahead of schedule, a leading political dissident was freed from prison in China. Wang Youcai's release followed months of diplomacy by US officials, and he quickly boarded a flight to San Francisco to seek medical treatment for heart and lung problems. Wang helped to organize the famous 1989 Tian-anmen Square democracy protest and later cofounded the China Democracy Party. The rubber-stamp National People's Congress, which opens Friday, is expected to vote on an amendment to the Constitution enshrining human rights.

Urgent consultations aimed at generating some progress were under way between UN and Turkish leaders over the Cyprus peace negotiations. The hastily arranged talks came as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said a deal to reunite the island nation can't be reached by May 1, the date it is due to be inducted into the European Union. Denktash threatened to pull out of the UN- sponsored negotiations with Greek Cypriots. He dislikes the UN plan for a loose federal system in which both communities would have autonomy. The UN hopes to put the plan to a referendum in both sectors not later than April 21. Without a deal, Greek Cyprus will join the EU alone.

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