Pakistani man executed for CIA shooting
A Pakistani man who killed two CIA employees in a 1993 shooting rampage outside the agency’s headquarters was executed yesterday as the State Department warned of global retaliation against Americans.
Aimal Khan Kasi, 38, died by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center at 9:07 p.m.
“There is no god but Allah,” Kasi said, softly chanting in his native tongue until he lost consciousness.
Hours before the execution, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal and Gov. Mark Warner denied a request for clemency, saying Kasi has “shown absolutely no remorse for his actions.”
Last week, the State Department warned that Kasi’s execution could lead to acts of vengeance against Americans everywhere. Two days after his conviction, assailants shot and killed four American oil company workers in Karachi, Pakistan.
Some Pakistani politicians pleaded with American officials to spare Kasi’s life, saying commutation could “win the hearts of millions” and help the United States in its war on terrorism. Hundreds of religious students protested in Pakistan this week, warning Americans there that they will not be safe if Kasi dies.
Pope makes rst appearance before parliament
Pope John Paul II made a historic speech to Italy’s parliament yesterday, urging Italians to work for world peace, uphold their Christian values and have more babies.
The visit – the first time a pope has appeared before the Italian parliament – underscored the warmth that the country feels for the Polish-born John Paul, the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years.
It also showed that Italy and the Roman Catholic Church have healed the wounds that a century ago prompted popes to call themselves “prisoners” of the Vatican rather than accept Italy’s government as legitimate.
The pope referred to the once-strained relations but said the bonds were now strong. He said Italy’s very identity “would be most difficult to understand without reference to Christianity, its lifeblood.”
Lawmakers interrupted the speech about 20 times with applause and gave the pope a standing ovation, with some cheering “Viva il papa!” at the end of his speech.
However, the visit was not without opposition. A few deputies said they wouldn’t attend to underscore that Italy remains a secular country, and a dozen or so gay activists protested at a nearby piazza.
Israeli troops arrest suspected shooter
Israeli troops tracked down the suspected ringleader of a deadly Palestinian shooting spree at an Israeli kibbutz, forcing him to strip to his underwear and surrender yesterday in the West Bank town of Tulkarem.
In a separate army action in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces carried out an early morning raid in Gaza City – a congested place that ground troops rarely approach – and detained four Palestinian brothers suspected of making mortars.
The actions are part of a recent pattern in which the military sends tanks, armored personnel carriers and troops into Palestinian cities and towns on nighttime missions to seize militants.
In Tulkarem, soldiers surrounded the house where the kibbutz attack suspect, Mohammed Naefe, was hiding. He walked out with his hands up, stripped to his underwear to ensure he wasn’t carrying explosives.
New Chinese leader to initiate reforms
Facing an era of galloping change, China’s communists stepped into a new age yesterday, sending President Jiang Zemin toward retirement, pushing a younger generation of leaders forward and changing their mission to welcome the emerging capitalist class.
Hu Jintao, the man expected to replace Jiang in the monumental task of running China in an era of rapid change, became the only top politician re-elected to the party’s ruling elite. It was the most solid sign yet of his ascent to the top of Asia’s largest, fastest-growing country.
The 59-year-old vice president is the odds-on favorite to succeed Jiang as head of the party – and as president in March – in the first truly orderly transfer of authority since the communists took China in 1949.
Military dismisses nine gay linguists
Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay.
The soldiers’ dismissals come at a time when the military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism.
Seven of the soldiers were discharged after telling superiors they are gay, and the two others got in trouble when they were caught together after curfew, said Steve Ralls, spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that defends homosexuals in the military.
Six were specializing in Arabic, two were studying Korean and one was studying Mandarin Chinese.