Japanese man named air guitar world champion again

OULU, Finland - A Japanese man out-""played' challengers to win the Air Guitar World Championship for the second consecutive year at a contest in northern Finland.

Ochi Yosuke received the highest score from a panel of judges in the final late Friday at the Teatria rock club in Oulu, near the Arctic Circle.

Apart from the glory, he received a custom-made Flying Finn electric guitar worth $3,400.

The talent on display was variable at best. The surprise of the qualifying round was Oulu native Hilkka ""Gore Kitty' Suvanto, who has twice before scored the lowest points ever in that round but now achieved a perfect six from many of the judges.

Suicide bomber strikes Shiite district killing 15

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives-packed Mercedes near a row of stores in the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City on Saturday, killing at least 15 people, police and hospital officials said.

The attack in the eastern Baghdad enclave came as at least 36 other people were killed or found dead in Iraq, including four who died in a bombing of an outdoor market in the Shiite holy city of Kufa.

Violence has been unrelenting in Iraq, and the suicide bombing in Baghdad was among a series of attacks tempering U.S. claims of success in taming the capital just days before a pivotal progress report is due to be delivered to Congress by the top commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Car bombing at barracks in Algeria kills 28

ALGIERS, Algeria - A car bombing killed 28 coast guard officers in Algeria on Saturday, just days after a blast ripped through a crowd waiting for the president. Both suspected al-Qaida-linked attacks targeted symbols of the government as it tries to wipe out an Islamic insurgency.

Although there was no claim of responsibility in either attack, al-Qaida's North African affiliate has carried out a spate of recent bombings that have shattered the Algerian government's efforts - successful until recently - to restore calm after a 15-year Islamist insurgency.

In Saturday's blast, explosives planted in a van ripped through barracks in the northern coastal town of Dellys, about 30 miles from the capital, Algiers. The bombing appeared timed to kill as many officers as possible, when they were grouped together to raise the flag.

Parents of missing girl said to want to leave Portugal

PRAIA DA LUZ, Portugal - A British couple named as suspects in the disappearance of their 4-year-old daughter in Portugal would like to go home but don't want to be perceived as running from justice, family and friends said Saturday.

Kate and Gerry McCann have strenuously professed their innocence since police declared them formal suspects Friday following hours of grueling interrogation.

Gerry McCann's sister, Philomena, said her brother and his family had planned to return home on Monday, when the lease on the villa they are renting in Portugal runs out.

U.N. chief in Libya hopes Darfur peace talks lead to final political settlement

SIRTE, Libya - The U.N. secretary-general said Saturday his goal is to reach a final political settlement to end the four-year conflict in Darfur, as he arrived in the hometown of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to discuss upcoming peace negotiations.

Ban Ki-Moon announced Thursday that Libya will host the talks set for Oct. 27, and he again praised the country's important mediating role in organizing two meetings with Darfur rebel groups earlier this year.

The U.N. chief said he hoped the October meeting would be ""the final phase of political negotiations.'

Ban's stop in Libya was the last in a three-nation tour to promote an end to the protracted conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

Analysts say Bin Laden tape is more about timing than substance

Osama bin Laden's latest message is a hodgepodge of anti-capitalist vitriol, impassioned Islamic evangelism and what can best be described as a twisted attempt at reconciliation: Join us, or we'll kill you.

Analysts say the video that came out days before the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is more about timing than substance, an attempt by history's most wanted fugitive to thumb his nose at the forces arrayed against him and remind the world that he hasn't been caught.

He ridiculed President Bush on Iraq, saying events there have gotten ""out of control' and comparing the American leader to ""one who plows and sows the sea: He harvests nothing but failure.'

Despite widespread fears, al-Qaida has so far failed to launch a second attack on the scale of Sept. 11, and many believe the video message - bin Laden's first since 2004 - was also an attempt to stay relevant.