Police raid summit of Mafia leaders

ROME - Police raided a summit of Mafia dons in Sicily on Monday, arresting a longtime fugitive authorities say was revitalizing Cosa Nostra's ties with U.S. mobsters and vying to become the crime syndicate's next 'boss of bosses.'

The capture of Salvatore Lo Piccolo after more than a decade on the run dealt another blow to the Sicilian Mafia, already weakened by several recent arrests, outmuscled by other underworld groups and facing an unprecedented challenge to the extortion racket that has been one of its main sources of income.

'It's a tough blow ... because they (the Lo Piccolo family) were in charge of restructuring the Mafia,' said Francesco Forgione, head of Italy's anti-Mafia commission.

Bush tries to stall incursion into Iraq

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday pledged fresh help to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in fighting Kurdish rebels, declaring them 'an enemy of Turkey, a free Iraq and the United States.'

In an Oval Office session, Bush offered intelligence sharing to help combat the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Bush also said top military figures from the United States and Turkey would be in more regular contact in an effort to track the movement of the guerrilla fighters.

Group: 2.3 million Iraqis out of homes

BAGHDAD - The Shiite militia's threat came in a typed letter tossed at Mohammed Abdul-Wahab's door: 'Leave this house within 48 hours or you will face death.'

The Sunni government worker did just that - fleeing his ancestral home in a mostly Shiite area of Baghdad with his wife and 2-year-old son.

Now, struggling to pay rent higher than his salary, Abdul-Wahab is among the nearly 2.3 million people the Iraqi Red Crescent says have been driven from their neighborhoods as Iraq is increasingly carved up along sectarian lines.

The number of internally displaced people has swelled in Iraq since the beginning of 2007, when the group counted less than half a million.

A new report issued Monday by the Iraqi Red Crescent shows that such people now outnumber Iraqis who have fled the country altogether for refuge in neighboring states like Syria and Jordan.

Egyptian officers get three years

CAIRO, Egypt - Two police officers were convicted Monday of torturing a bus driver in an abuse case that came to light when a cell phone video of the man being beaten and sodomized appeared on Egyptian blogs and YouTube.

They were sentenced to three years in prison.

The bus driver, 22-year-old Emad el-Kabir, shouted in joy upon hearing the verdict against his assailants - Islam Nabih, a police captain, and Reda Fathi, a noncommissioned officer.

'God is great! Thank God!' el-Kabir said. 'I regained my right. I don't want anything more than that.'

Earlier in the trial, el-Kabir tearfully told the judge the two officers sexually abused him and used a cell phone to film the abuse. He said they sodomized him with a stick and hit him with shoes, a whip and a gun.

Police, lawyers clash in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Police on Monday fired tear gas and clubbed lawyers protesting against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule. The U.S. and other nations called for elections to be held on schedule and said they were reviewing aid to Pakistan.

In the largest protest in the eastern city of Lahore, lawyers dressed in black suits and ties chanted 'Musharraf Go!' as they defied the government's ban on rallies. Some fought back with stones and tree branches.

Iran abandons effort to stop vote

PARIS - Iran has backed away from an effort to stop an Interpol vote on putting five Iranians and a Lebanese man on the international police agency's most wanted list for a 1994 bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people, an Interpol official said Monday.

Iran's decision clears the way for a vote on the issue at the three-day Interpol general assembly that began Monday in Marrakech, Morocco.

Delegates will be asked to adjudicate in a dispute between Interpol members Iran and Argentina over the July 18, 1994, bombing when an explosives-laden van leveled the seven-story Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

At least 31 dead in nursing home fire

MOSCOW - Fire tore through a nursing home in Russia, trapping patients in fast-moving flames and choking smoke at a facility cited for numerous safety violations including no fire alarm, officials said Monday. At least 31 people were killed.

Horrific fires at state-run facilities have underscored the negligence, mismanagement, corruption and crumbling infrastructure that persist despite an oil-fueled upswing in Russia's fortunes under President Vladimir Putin. Nearly 18,000 people are killed in fires in Russia each year.