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BEIRUT — Eight alleged followers of America's most-wanted terror suspect, Osama bin Laden, were convicted Friday on charges that included planning terrorist attacks.


BAGHDAD — Hundreds of U.N. workers and others paid respects Friday to an official of the world body killed in an office shootout by a gunman who said he was protesting sanctions against Iraq.


BUENOS AIRES — Relatives of 323 Argentine sailors who died when the British sank their ship during the 1982 Falklands Islands war will seek damages from England in an international court, their lawyers said.


SHIRAZ — Iranian Jews converged Friday on a synagogue in the heart of this ancient city's Jewish quarter, offering prayers on the eve of a verdict for 13 Jews accused of spying for Israel.

TEHRAN — Turnout appeared low in Tehran's legislative runoff elections, held Friday to fill two seats for which first-round reformist victories were annulled by the hard-line election council.


KINSHASA — Few celebrated as Congo marked 40 years of independence from Belgium on Friday with military bands and a parade in a country ravaged by years of corruption and civil war.


HONG KONG — Hong Kong drivers will no longer be allowed to use hand-held cellular phones while on the road after a new law goes into effect this weekend, a transport official said Friday.

Sierra Leone

FREETOWN — Gunmen killed a Jordanian peacekeeper in Sierra Leone in an ambush of a convoy of six U.N. vehicles, a U.N. spokeswoman said.


STRASBOURG — A report by experts for the Council of Europe said Friday that Russia's policies in Chechnya were a violation of the European Human Rights Convention.

PARIS — A French appeals court Friday upheld a four-year prison sentence against Jacques Crozemarie, accused of swindling several hundred million French francs from a cancer research charity he once headed.


LONDON — A white supremacist was found guilty of murder Friday and sentenced to six life sentences after a spate of bombings against minorities in London that killed three people and injured more than 100.


RIO DE JANEIRO — Firefighters were battling to douse several blazes raging across the world's largest urban forest surrounding Rio de Janeiro that were apparently sparked by flames from unmanned, gas-fired balloons.

BRASILIA — Prominent developer and ex-Sen. Luiz Estevao was ordered jailed Friday after he became the first Brazilian lawmaker to lose his Senate seat and immunity because of charges he stole up to $100 million in public funds.


TOKYO — Japan's high unemployment rate fell for the second month running, the government said Friday, but the good news could turn bad down the road, with the labor pool shrinking.


DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's beleaguered center-right coalition won a confidence vote Friday brought by the opposition over charges of sleaze and cronyism.


BERLIN — The German parliament has cleared the way for legislation that would make it possible to begin restitution payments to Nazi-era slave labor survivors by the end of the year, a parliamentary leader said Friday.


ADDIS ABABA — Sixty people were killed when a bus plunged into a river in central Ethiopia while attempting to cross a flooded bridge, state radio reported Friday.