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Extradition by Britain OK'd in terrorism case

PARIS (AP) -- Europe's human rights court ruled Thursday that Britain can send a radical Muslim cleric and four other suspects to the United States to face terrorism charges.

The court, based in Strasbourg, said Britain would not violate European Union human rights rules by extraditing the suspects, who could face life sentences in a maximum-security prison.

The long-running legal battle centered on Mustafa Kamal Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, considered Britain's most recognizable extremist, due in part to his fiery rhetoric and hook for a hand. He has long been a figure of tabloid newspaper scorn.

Al-Masri and the other men had argued that in the United States, they could face prison conditions and prison terms that would expose them to "torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" in breach of the European human rights code.

The suspects are accused of crimes such as setting up a terrorist camp in the United States and raising funds for terrorists. British Home Secretary Theresa May said the U.K. will work to see that the suspects are handed over to U.S. authorities as quickly as possible.


Bomb threat diverts Korean Airlines flight

TORONTO (AP) -- A Korean Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Vancouver to Seoul was diverted Tuesdsay to a Canadian Forces base on Vancouver Island after the airline's U.S. call center received a call about a bomb threat onboard.

In Washington, a U.S. official said two U.S. F-15s were scrambled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Canadian Forces said the plane was traveling from Vancouver International Airport and was diverted to Comox air base 70 miles outside Vancouver at about 5:30 p.m.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that the plane was diverted after a bomb threat was called into the airline's Los Angeles office. According to the CBC report, the flight was escorted by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets that had been scrambled from Portland, Ore.

A Korean Air spokesman said he was aware of the incident but declined to comment.

Vancouver International Airport spokeswoman Alisa Gloag said Flight 72, carrying 149 passengers, landed safely at Comox about three hours after it took off. Gloag could not confirm any other details.


Suicide bombers kill 16 as Taliban step up fight

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Suicide bombers killed at least 16 people Tuesday as the Taliban stepped up their fight against Afghan security personnel who have been slowly taking the lead from U.S. and international troops.

Attacks this week have included deadly bombings far from the main areas of conflict in the south and east, underscoring that the Taliban and their allies retain the capability to strike over wide areas of the country. The violence comes at a pivotal time for the U.S.-led coalition as it forges ahead with plans to hand over security responsibility to the Afghans.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attacks -- one in the western region of Herat and the other in the southern province of Helmand -- in phone messages to the media.

Afghan security forces now number about 330,000 and are to peak at 352,000 by the end of the year. They are expected to take over much of the fighting as the United States draws down 23,000 more troops to reduce its presence to 68,000 by the end of September. Last year's high for U.S. troop strength was about 100,000.