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Castro won't hand over killer of N.J. trooper

HAVANA -- President Fidel Castro has rejected calls to hand over a black militant convicted in 1973 of killing a New Jersey state trooper, saying she's a victim of racial persecution and not a terrorist, as US officials declared recently. ''They wanted to portray her as a terrorist, something that was an injustice, a brutality, an infamous lie," Castro said in a television address Tuesday night. While Castro did not identify the woman by name, he was clearly alluding to Assata Shakur -- the former Joanne Chesimard -- who was put on a US government terrorist watch list May 2. On the same day, New Jersey officials announced a $1 million reward for her capture. Castro's remarks were his first comment on the new US actions. A member of the Black Liberation Army, Shakur, 57, was convicted of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster as he lay on the ground. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. Castro referred to her as a victim of ''the fierce repression against the black movement in the United States" and said she had been ''a true political prisoner." (AP)

KUWAIT

War crimes charges listed against Hussein

KUWAIT CITY -- Kuwaiti prosecutors have drawn up a list of charges against ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and hundreds of his officials for alleged war crimes committed during Iraq's occupation of the Gulf nation, the prosecutor general said yesterday. The list will be delivered to the Iraqi court that will try Hussein and other former regime members and the new charges will be added to the existing allegations, prosecutor general Hamed al-Othman said, according to the state-owned Kuwait News Agency. Hussein already faces charges in Iraq that include killing rival politicians, gassing Kurds, and invading Kuwait. The Kuwaiti charges include allegations that Hussein's regime kidnapped 605 Kuwaitis and nationals of other countries who lived in the oil-rich state at the time of the 1990-91 occupation, al-Othman said. The remains of 147 of them were found in mass graves in Iraq after Hussein was toppled in April 2003. (AP)

BRITAIN

Chimpanzee's artwork to be sold at auction

LONDON -- Brightly colored paintings by Congo the chimpanzee are going on sale at a prestigious London auction house alongside works by Andy Warhol and Renoir. The three tempera on paper paintings -- described as resembling abstract artworks -- are expected to fetch between $1,130 and $1,500 next month at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary sale. Congo, born in 1954, produced some 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of 2 and 4. He painted within the boundaries of the sheet of paper, never allowing the paint to spill over the edge, and appeared to know when he had finished a painting -- by refusing to pick up his brush or pencil over the work. In 1957, animal behaviorist Desmond Morris organized an exhibition of chimpanzee art, including works by Congo, at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. Critics reacted with a mix of scorn and skepticism, but Picasso reportedly owned a painting by Congo, Bonhams said. (AP)

MIDDLE EAST

Defense aide sees no delay in pullout

JERUSALEM -- Israel's defense minister said yesterday some government departments may not be adequately prepared for the mid-August pullout, but the country would not further delay its planned withdrawal. The government has approved a three-week postponement in the departure from Gaza and four West Bank settlements. Officials cited an annual Jewish mourning period that ends Aug. 14, but many in Israel believed the withdrawal was pushed back because government preparations are behind schedule. Despite the hitches in preparations, Shaul Mofaz said the government is committed to carrying out the withdrawal on schedule. Also yesterday, a Katyusha rocket, apparently fired from Lebanon, landed in the northern Israeli town of Shlomi, severely damaging a building, the Israeli military said. There were no injuries. (AP)

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