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AROUND THE WORLD

Muslim militants act to unite all Islamic extremists

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (AP) -- Muslim militants linked to al-Qaida have established a "league of holy warriors" to unite all Islamic extremists in Southeast Asia and launch strikes against governments in the region, according to Philippine intelligence documents obtained by the Associated Press.

The group was formed in 1999 in Malaysia and headed by the Jemaah Islamiyah, the group suspected in the Bali bombings last month.

"It's like an umbrella group, but no matter the extent of their network, we can monitor them. We know the personalities," said Superintendent Robert Delfin, who heads Philippine national police intelligence.

Delfin said Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are cooperating and exchanging information on Rabitatul Mujahideen, which means League of Holy Warriors.

Representatives from militant groups in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Egypt -- including Jemaah Islamiyah -- attended at least three covert meetings in Malaysia to establish the group in 1999-00, according to the confidential documents.

U.S. soldiers in Germany charged in private's death

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Two U.S. soldiers have been charged with murdering an 18-year-old private found dead in a Frankfurt garage, an Army spokesman said Wednesday.

Pfc. Jonathan Schroeder and Pfc. Andrew Humiston are being held at the U.S. military base in Mannheim pending an Article 32 hearing, the civilian equivalent of a grand jury investigation, to determine if the men will go to trial, said Maj. Thomas Schrader, spokesman for the 1st Armored Division.

The men are accused of robbing and murdering Pfc. Clint C. Lamebear of Church Rock, N.M., who died of a blow to the head early Saturday after going out with soldiers from his barracks in Friedberg, north of Frankfurt. Lamebear had reported to his unit just four days before his death.

Frankfurt police, who questioned the U.S. soldiers before turning them over to military authorities, said one of the suspects admitted that he and his companion decided to rob Lamebear after meeting him in a bar. The soldier said they took the victim's wallet, containing $40, and then beat him, according to police.

Newspaper office burned to protest slight of prophet

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Muslims burned down a newspaper office Wednesday to protest an article suggesting that Islam's prophet might have chosen a wife from among contestants in the Miss World beauty pageant being hosted by Nigeria.

The local office of ThisDay in the northern city of Kaduna was destroyed, police and newspaper officials said. No one was in the building.

The Nigerian Muslim Umma, a group of Islamic scholars, declared a "serious religious emergency" Wednesday and called on President Olusegun Obasanjo to cancel the pageant and "sanction" the newspaper. Muslim groups say the pageant promotes sexual promiscuity and indecency.

The article questioned the reasoning of Muslim groups that have condemned the pageant. It is being held Dec. 8 in the capital, Abuja.

New drug to combat cancer surprises scientists

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A new drug designed to stop cancer by cutting off its blood supply has surprised experts by showing a tumor shrinkage rate unprecedented for a drug so early in its development.

In the first human trials, involving 23 people with terminal cancer, the tumors of one-quarter of the patients shrank by half or more.

Similar drugs have proved disappointing -- prompting no dramatic tumor shrinkage in early tests. Scientists say the latest results, presented Wednesday in Frankfurt, likely will revive flagging enthusiasm for the approach.

The drug, which does not yet have a name, is a newcomer to the field of anti-angiogenics -- drugs designed to damage tumors by attacking blood vessels that feed them.

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