World

An Indian court began to hand down verdicts Tuesday in the 1993 bombings that killed 257 people in a series of blasts in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the country's financial hub. Four members of a Muslim family, including a woman, were found guilty, with verdicts against the remaining 116 defendants, including Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, expected to take about six weeks. The trial, held in a court located inside a Mumbai prison complex for security reasons, began in 1994 and has heard testimony by 686 witnesses. No sentences will be announced until all the verdicts are delivered. Prosecutors say the blasts, which are considered as retaliation for the demolition of a Muslim mosque by Hindu zealots, were organized by two brothers who've fled the country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that her cabinet is poised to approve plans to send warships and surveillance planes to Lebanon to serve in a UN peacekeeping force. Merkel indicated that all the conditions were right for participation, given the delicacy of Germany's World War II past, including a formal request from the Lebanese government. Parliamentary approval is anticipated within the week.

A spokesman for the outgoing Hamas-led administration said Tuesday that the militant anti- Israel Islamic group is prepared to back peace efforts with Israel as part of a new Palestinian unity government. Hamas leaders, who relented to international sanctions and agreed to share power, said Hamas is ready to give President Mahmoud Abbas of the more moderate Fatah Party a chance to pursue peace talks with Israel.

Australian fisheries officials said that at least 10 stingrays have been killed since the death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, possibly in retaliation for his fatal encounter with a sting-ray Sept. 4 while filming a TV documentary. A spokesman for the late TV star's animal charity said that killing stingrays was "not what Steve was about."

At a pre-election rally in Yemen Tuesday, 15 people were killed and more than 70 injured in a stampede from an overcrowded stadium, where 150,000 people heard President Al Abdullah Saleh speak.

UN antidrug chief Antonio Maria Costa on Tuesday urged NATO forces in Afghanistan to "stop the vicious circle of drugs funding terrorists and terrorists protecting drug traffickers." Opium is used to make heroin and 92 percent of the world's supply of the crop is grown in Afghan-istan, where opium cultivation has risen 59 percent this year, according to the UN. NATO, which is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, has said it doesn't plan to take a lead role in addressing the narcotics trade.

Hurricane Florence knocked out power for thousands of people in Bermuda, but was blamed for no deaths and only a few minor injuries before heading off toward north Atlantic waters.

Indonesia reconsidered an earlier decision and said it will now allow activists to gather on Batam island in protest of next week's International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting in nearby Singapore.

British union members angered by plans to privatize public services, booed and heckled Prime Minister Tony Blair during a Tuesday address at a union conference in Brighton. More than a dozen delegates walked out.

In a five-minute hospital cer-emony, Japan's new 6-day-old prince, who is third in line to be emperor, was named Hisahito, which means "virtuous, calm, and everlasting." The boy is Japan's first male heir to the throne in four decades.

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