Shooting spree kills one, wounds three

NEW ORLEANS

A gunman with an AK-47 rifle opened fire in a high school gym yesterday, killing a 15-year-old boy and wounding three teenage girls in a spray of more than 30 bullets that sent students scrambling for cover.

Four suspects, ranging in age from 15 to 19, were arrested in a sweep of the neighborhood near John McDonogh High School. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he did not know if the suspects attended the school.

Students said the shooting was apparently gang related and may have been retaliation for a previous fight.

“They started shooting and I started running,” said ninth-grader Garick Jacob, who was in the gym when the shooting began. “I was really scared.”

The gunman managed to slip out of the gym and the suspects were arrested about three blocks away. Two were in a getaway vehicle and two others were in a nearby house in the Mid-City neighborhood, about a mile north of the French Quarter.

It was not immediately clear how the gun got through metal detectors and guards at the school. Students and school security officers said there was a hole in the fence near the gym.

School board member Elliot Willard said students told him that the boy was the target and the girls were accidental victims.

Four convicted in bombing of U.S. consulate

KARACHI, Pakistan

An anti-terrorism court yesterday convicted four members of an outlawed Islamic militant group of orchestrating a truck bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi last year that killed 12 Pakistanis.

Two defendants were sentenced to death by hanging and two were sentenced to life in prison. All four remained defiant after the verdict, and one called his sentence “a blessing.”

The June 14 bombing, which also wounded 43 people, was one of several aimed at foreigners and Pakistan’s small Christian minority. It was believed to be retaliation for the government’s alliance with the United States in the war against the al-Qaida terrorist network and Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban regime.

The court sentenced Mohammed Imran and Mohammed Hanif to death by hanging. Mohammed Sharib and Mufti Zubair were sentenced to life in prison, while a fifth defendant, Mohammed Ashraf, was acquitted. The four convicted men also were fined about $9,000 each.

Imran and Hanif made the V-for-victory sign with their hands and passed out sweets to their lawyers, who promised to appeal.

War in Iraq may deter N. Korea from arms

SEOUL, South Korea

U.S. military success in Iraq appears to have shocked North Korea into trying to peacefully resolve the standoff over its nuclear activities, but some experts warn a resolution to the crisis is far from guaranteed.

After months of insisting on one-on-one talks with Washington, North Korea signaled over the weekend that it would be willing to accept U.S. demands for multilateral discussions over the communist country’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

The change was welcomed by world leaders, including President Bush, who described it as “very good news for the people in the Far East.”

“This is the most positive statement since this crisis started,” said Paik Hak-soon, a political analyst at the Seoul-based Sejong Institute research center. “Its timing shows North Korea is really shocked by what has happened in Iraq.”

Two dozen killed in post-election violence

LAGOS, Nigeria

Nigeria’s ruling party was leading yesterday in legislative elections seen as a key test of its young democracy, but violence accompanying voting in the oil-rich south left at least two dozen people dead.

President Olusegun Obasanjo’s party won 69 seats in the House of Representatives in returns from weekend voting counted as of yesterday. Two main opposition parties took 52. In the Senate, the ruling party won 22 seats compared to 10 for the opposition.

In all, some 3,000 candidates campaigned for 360 seats in the House of Representatives and 109 in the Senate.

The legislative race is a key gauge of civil tensions a week ahead of presidential elections that will pit Obasanjo – a former military ruler turned civilian leader – against 19 opposition candidates, including three former army generals.

Eye exam law leads to earlier diagnoses

WASHINGTON

William Reynolds covered the 5-year-old’s left eye while the boy read an eye chart. The boy’s mother wondered aloud why an exam from an eye specialist was now required to enter Kentucky schools – especially since her son seemed to see fine.

Then Reynolds covered the boy’s other eye, and the youngster piped up, “Oh, that’s the eye I don’t see out of.” Reynolds recalls the stunned mother almost falling out of her chair.

Kentucky’s new law, the first in the nation to require a comprehensive vision exam to enter school, meant the boy’s problem was caught in time to cure. Now a study shows that nearly one in seven youngsters examined thanks to the law needed glasses, and an additional 5 percent had major undiagnosed problems.

Lawmakers in other states and Congress are considering similar action to get more youngsters to eye doctors.

? Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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