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Rocket with satellite explodes after liftoff

NEW DELHI (AP) -- A rocket carrying an Indian communication satellite exploded just after liftoff Saturday in the second launch failure for India's space agency this year.

Television images showed the rocket exploding in smoke and fire just after it launched from the Sriharikota space center in Andhra Pradesh state. It was carrying a GSAT-5P communication satellite into orbit.

The vehicle developed an error 47 seconds after liftoff and lost command, leading to a higher angle in the flight, said K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research


In April, a similar rocket on a developmental flight plunged into the Bay of Bengal. The

ISRO said its rotor seized and turbine casing ruptured, probably due to excessive pressure and thermal stresses.

India is planning its first manned space flight in 2016.


Darfur activist jailed despite his acquittal

CAIRO (AP) -- A human rights group said Saturday that a prominent Darfur activist was sentenced to one year in prison and fined on embezzlement charges. He was acquitted on the same charges earlier.

Mudawi Ibrahim is the director of a Sudanese aid group working in Darfur, which has been racked by violence.

Sudanese authorities ordered Ibrahim's group shut down in March 2009.

Ibrahim won a court case against the embezzlement charges. The London-based African Center for Justice and Peace Studies said in a statement Saturday that the authorities appealed and won a new verdict without a retrial.

The center said Ibrahim was whisked from the courtroom to prison Wednesday.


Apology, compensation sought from Israel

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey's foreign minister says the country wants improved ties with Israel, but it must apologize and offer compensation for its deadly raid on a Gaza Strip-bound aid flotilla.

Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters Saturday, "We have the intention of making peace with Israel."

He accuses the Israeli government of not reciprocating Turkish overtures and says "nothing can cover up" the killing of Turkish citizens. The Israeli raid on the flotilla killed nine activists in May.

Davutoglu said, "We want to both preserve relations and defend our rights."


Opposition leaders barred from leaving

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's opposition leaders are barred from leaving the country, a prominent conservative lawmaker said Saturday, hiking up the pressure on the reform movement.

The comments by Mousa Qorbani, a member of the Judicial Committee in parliament, were the first official word of a travel ban on the top opposition figures, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi -- who both ran in the disputed 2009 presidential elections -- as well as former reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

Qorbani said authorities had "recognized" that Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami are "mohareb" -- a term meaning that they are "fighting God."

"Therefore, they are barred from leaving," Qorbani was quoted by the state TV-run Youth Journalists Club as saying Saturday.

Many other opposition figures who have been convicted were tried on charges of being "mohareb."

The opposition claims that Mousavi was the rightful winner of the 2009 election and that hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner through massive vote fraud.