American appears in Pakistani court
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) An American detained for visa violations in northwestern Pakistan is a contractor who had worked on a U.S.-funded construction project in the region, a security official said Saturday.
Pakistans intelligence agency says it is scrutinizing the details of Americans in the country after the arrest last month of a CIA employee for shooting dead two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore, but it was unclear whether the arrest of Aaron Mark DeHaven on Friday in Peshawar was directly related.
The killings in Lahore have sharply raised tensions between Pakistans spy agency and the CIA, which cooperate behind the scenes in the fight against Islamist militant groups inside Pakistan. The shootings also have unleashed a new round of anti-American rhetoric in the country.
On Saturday, more than 300 Islamists from the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity, which has militant links, rallied in Lahore, urging the government to hang the detained CIA contractor, Raymond Allen Davis.
Death toll up to 145 in New Zealand quake
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) New Zealands premier said the Christchurch quake may be the countrys worst disaster ever, as officials raised the toll to 145 dead and more than 200 missing while giving a grim prognosis for the citys downtown.
Engineers and planners said the citys decimated central area may be completely unusable for months to come and that at least a third of the buildings must be razed and rebuilt after last Tuesdays 6.3 magnitude quake.
The multinational team of more than 600 rescuers scrabbling through wrecked buildings in the central city last pulled a survivor from the ruins at mid-afternoon Wednesday, making it nearly four days without finding anyone alive.
Attack closes Iraqs largest oil refinery
BAGHDAD (AP) Gunmen attacked Iraqs largest oil refinery before dawn Saturday, killing a guard and forcing a shutdown that threatened to exacerbate acute electricity shortages that have prompted violent protests.
The gunmen detonated bombs that sparked a fire and forced the facility to halt operations, officials said. A few hours later, a small refinery in the south shut down after a technical failure sparked a fire in a storage unit, an official said.
If not fixed swiftly, the two shutdowns could translate into long lines at fuel stations and even longer electricity outages.
Iran to unload fuel from nuclear plant
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) In a major setback to Irans nuclear program, technicians will have to unload fuel from the countrys first atomic power plant because of an unspecified safety concern, a senior government official said.
The vague explanation raised questions about whether the mysterious computer worm known as Stuxnet might have caused more damage at the Bushehr plant than previously acknowledged. Other explanations are possible for unloading the fuel rods from the reactor core of the newly completed plant, including routine technical difficulties.
While the exact reason behind the fuels removal is unclear, the admission is seen as a major embarrassment for Tehran because it has touted Bushehr Irans first atomic power plant as its showcase nuclear facility and sees it as a source of national pride.
Brazil judge suspends construction of dam
SÃO PAULO (AP) A Brazilian court suspended work on a massive hydroelectric dam project in the Amazon jungle state of Para, citing environmental concerns.
Federal Judge Ronaldo Desterro said in a statement posted on a court website Friday night that environmental agency Ibama erred last month when it approved work to begin on the Belo Monte dam.
The statement cites 29 environmental conditions that allegedly have not been met, such as the recovery of degraded areas and measures to guarantee the navigability of rivers.
The $11 billion, 11,000- megawatt dam, to be constructed on the Xingu River feeding the Amazon, would be the worlds third-largest hydroelectric energy producer behind Chinas Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu, which straddles the border of Brazil and Paraguay.