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AROUND THE WORLD

U.S. airmen quesationed in Okinawa woman's rape

OKINAWA CITY, Japan (AP) -- A Japanese woman was raped today in an Okinawa parking lot in an attack that a witness said might have involved American servicemen, authorities said. Several members of the U.S. Air Force were questioned.

A passer-by told police that several men who appeared to be U.S. servicemen attacked the woman at 2:30 a.m. in the parking lot, then fled in a vehicle.

The victim, who is in her 20s, told authorities she was surrounded by several foreign men and that one of them raped her, police said.

The attack occurred in an area of restaurants and bars known as "American Village" not far from several U.S. military bases, police said.

N. Korean asylum-seekers permitted to leave China

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A family of North Koreans seeking asylum was allowed to leave China today and arrived in the Philippines, where an airport official said they would spend the night before flying to South Korea.

The seven North Koreans had taken refuge in a U.N. office in Beijing earlier this week, saying they feared persecution at home because of a book one of them published that was critical of North Korea's communist regime. They asked to be sent to South Korea.

China -- in a possible face-saving move ahead of the vote for who will host the 2008 Olympics -- gave the family rare permission to leave for a third country.

"China had no objection to their departure. There were some health concerns in the family that could be more adequately addressed elsewhere," said Colin Mitchell, head of the China office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The seven first flew to Singapore, then boarded a plane that later landed in the Philippine capital, Manila.

Peru sends former spy chief to prison he helped design

LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Peru transferred Vladimiro Montesinos to a maximum-security naval prison before dawn Thursday, making the feared former spy chief just the seventh inmate to inhabit the anti-terrorist lockup he helped design.

Montesinos will share the prison in Lima's port Callao with Abimael Guzman, the founder of the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla group, and other top guerrilla and military prisoners. Montesinos helped capture or interrogate many of the inmates.

His court-appointed lawyer, Patricia Hurtado, protested his transfer, saying that the naval prison was for prisoners sentenced for terrorist crimes while Montesinos was only charged with common crimes.

Held until Thursday morning in a cellblock within Lima's Justice Palace, Montesinos faces 52 charges that include homicide, money laundering, drug trafficking, arms dealing and directing death squads. Montesinos allegedly ran a web of corruption that controlled large portions of the military, police and legal system.

Cuba to allow two children to live with father in Miami

ARTEMISA, Cuba (AP) -- In a case that recalled Cuban castaway Elian Gonzalez, the communist government has agreed to let a little girl and her half brother emigrate to Miami to live with the girl's father -- a physician who defected last year.

The children's relatives told the Associated Press on Thursday that Cuban officials were helping arrange the documents necessary for the departure of Giselle Cordova, 4, and Yusinel Hernandez, 11, after their mother, Rosalba Gonzalez, died earlier this month in a motorcycle accident a few blocks from her Havana home.

Cuban citizens must obtain permission from the government to leave the island -- even if they have visas from other countries to visit or emigrate definitively.

Cuban passports for the two children, as well as exit visas, were to be ready later Thursday, said Tania Cordova, Giselle's aunt. Giselle has been staying with her aunt since her mother was killed.

BBC seeks volunteers for WWI trench life program

LONDON (AP) -- The British Broadcasting Corp. is looking for volunteers to re-create life in the trenches during World War I as part of a documentary television program.

The participants -- still to be selected -- must be young men willing to brave sleep deprivation, food rations, rats and waist-deep mud as an earlier generation of Britons did in 1916.

"We will work from diaries and records to piece together exactly how it was," David Colthurst, the program's executive producer, was quoted as saying in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. "Nothing will be made up."

The BBC would not say whether the show, titled "The Trench," will be a contest with a prize at the end. But the network said it considers the show a documentary rather than a successor to game shows such as "Big Brother" and "Survivor."

The show will be filmed at a secret location in France and broadcast sometime next year.

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