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Pakistan confirms arrest in India attacks

NEW DELHI : A senior Pakistani official confirmed yesterday the arrest of the suspected mastermind behind November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai as Indian authorities publicly identified all the known assailants as young men from Pakistan. After a day of contradictory news reports and official silence, Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar acknowledged that Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi had "been picked up" during a raid on an alleged militant camp in the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir. Lakhvi is a senior commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic militant group accused of carrying out the deadly rampage through hotels and other busy sites in Mumbai that left more than 170 people dead. Police in Mumbai released photos yesterday of eight of the nine militants who were slain in the attack, including gruesome shots of burned or battered faces. The ninth attacker's body was too badly burned to be shown, according to senior police official Rakesh Maria. A 10th gunman - the only one to be captured alive - remains in custody.

Obama, Gore discuss 'green' help for economy

CHICAGO: President-elect Barack Obama praised former Vice President Al Gore's ideas on the environment as one part of helping the nation's struggling economic recovery. Obama, Gore and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met privately yesterday at Obama's transition headquarters here for almost two hours. Obama said they discussed so-called green jobs as a way to boost employment across the country, improve national security by reducing reliance on foreign oil, and reduce energy costs. Obama said global warming is a problem but also an opportunity.

Craig loses latest bid to withdraw guilty plea

MINNEAPOLIS: Idaho Sen. Larry Craig has lost his latest attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in the Minneapolis airport men's room sex sting that effectively ended his Senate career. A three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected yesterday the Republican's bid to toss out his disorderly conduct conviction. Craig still has the option of appealing to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and he said yesterday that he was considering his options. Craig was arrested June 11, 2007, by an undercover police officer who was conducting a sting operation against men cruising for gay sex at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He quietly pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and paid a fine but changed his mind after word of his arrest became public that August. Craig insisted he was innocent and said he was not gay. His attorney argued that the police officer misconstrued Craig's foot-tapping, hand movements and other conduct.

Suspicious letter intercepted in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska: An eighth letter containing suspicious powder and addressed to a governor's office was intercepted in Alaska yesterday, and it bore a Texas postmark like suspicious mailings to other governors this week, officials said. A spokeswoman for Gov. Sarah Palin said the letter was received yesterday in Juneau at a mailroom about a block from the Capitol and that it was addressed to Palin's predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, who left office two years ago. Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the letter came from Texas, but she didn't know which city. Seven suspicious letters to governors' offices received this week bore Dallas postmarks, the FBI said yesterday. And while those seven letters were determined to contain harmless powder, results of tests on the Alaska letter were pending last night, the FBI office in Anchorage said. Government operations were disrupted Monday when workers in Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island opened the letters and discovered white powder.

Homicide probe opens in New York beating

NEW YORK: Authorities opened a homicide investigation yesterday into a vicious attack on an Ecuadorean immigrant whose assailants shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs, then beat him with a baseball bat and kicked him. Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, was attacked as he walked arm in arm with his 38-year-old brother early Sunday in Brooklyn. He had been listed in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery at Elmhurst Hospital in neighboring Queens. A law enforcement official said that Sucuzhanay had been declared brain dead and was taken off life support yesterday. Relatives, though, held a news conference to say that Sucuzhanay was clinging to life. The three assailants were still being sought.

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