World

A group of unidentified Iraqi witnesses testified behind closed doors Sunday at a US military hearing to determine if five American soldiers should be tried in the rape and slaying of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl. Three of the girl's relatives were also killed in Mahmoudiya on March 12. The crime is considered one of the worst incidents in a series of cases alleging US troop abuse of Iraqi civilians.

Thousands of people in Indonesia – the world's most populous Muslim nation – demonstrated against Israel's military campaign against Hizbullah in Lebanon. The protesters accused Israel of terrorism and demanded an end to violence. In Jakarta , more than 1,500 people gathered outside the US embassy where US and Israeli flags were burned and the crowds chanted: "The US supports Israel the terrorist," and "Give a chance to peace."

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will be sworn in Monday for a second term marking the first time in more than a century that a sitting Colombian president has been reelected. A decrease in the crime rate and Uribe's hard line against leftist rebels helped him reach an overwhelming majority in the May elections. Uribe will try to use his popularity to push an agenda that includes tax reform, more social spending, and an even stronger pursuit of leftist guerrillas. But Uribe – Washington's closest ally in South America – also faces difficult challenges as he struggles to combat the four-decades-old insurgency, curb the world's largest cocaine industry, and mend relations with his South American counterparts that have suffered from his close relationship with the US.

An analysis by Japan and the US has concluded that six of the seven missiles tested by North Korea last month fell within their targets, a major Japanese newspaper reported Sunday. Only a newly developed long-range missile is believed to have failed, the Yomiuri newspaper said. North Korea's July 5 missile tests drew strong international condemnation, prompting the UN Security Council to adopt a statement denouncing the launches and banning countries from missile-related dealings with North Korea.

Iranian officials vowed Sunday to expand the number of atomic centrifuges Iran is running despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding Tehran halt its nuclear development by Aug. 31. "We will expand nuclear technology at whatever stage it may be necessary," said chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Any attempts to bring sanctions against Iran, he said, could be countered by reducing oil exports that would make "people shiver in the cold. We do not want to do that." The centrifuges are used to enrich uranium, which Iran claims to be doing to run power stations, not develop weapons.

American cyclist Floyd Landis said Saturday he's determined to clear his name and keep from becoming the first Tour de France winner to ever lose his title because of drug tests. A long appeals process could now ensue after a second doping sample taken during the race showed elevated levels of testosterone, as did the initial sample released earlier. The Tour de France no longer considers Landis the champion and his cycling team has severed ties with him.

Hong Kong's legislature passed a new law giving authorities more power to tap phones and conduct other surveillance measures on Sunday, a move that critics fear will curtail civil liberties. Apart from phone tapping, the bill also covers interception of mail and e-mail, as well as physical surveillance, such as undercover infiltration.

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