Red Cross urges U.S. military to allow outside evidence in detainee hearings

KABUL, Afghanistan - The Red Cross criticized the way the U.S. handles prisoners at the highly secretive Bagram military base, urging reforms Monday that would allow detainees to introduce testimony in their defense.

The criticism of the prison, which few outsiders have seen, goes to the heart of the system the Bush administration uses to justify holding detainees outside the U.S.

Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said many of the 600-plus detainees at Bagram complain they do not even know why they are being held. Kellenberger spent a half day at the prison during a one-week visit to Afghanistan that ended Monday.

U.S.-friendly Italian mogul wins election

ROME - Media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a decisive victory Monday in Italy's parliamentary election, setting the colorful conservative and staunch U.S. ally on course to his third stint as premier.

The victory in voting Sunday and Monday by parties supporting the 71-year-old Berlusconi avenged his loss two years ago to a center-left coalition.

""I'm moved. I feel a great responsibility,' he said in a phone call to RAI public television while monitoring election results at his villa outside Milan. Italian news agencies said he had a private dinner with key aides.

Berlusconi capitalized on discontent over Italy's stagnating economy and the unpopularity of Romano Prodi's government.

""I think it was a vote against the performance of the Prodi government in the last two years,' said Franco Pavoncello, a political science professor at Rome's John Cabot University.

Zimbabwe court refuses to release results of election

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's High Court rejected an appeal Monday for the immediate release of presidential election results, dashing hopes for an end to a paralyzing political crisis and prompting the opposition to call a nationwide strike.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won the March 29 election outright and has accused President Robert Mugabe of holding back the results to try to maintain his 28-year grip in power. Independent tallies show Tsvangirai won, but did not receive enough votes to prevent a runoff.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change had hoped the court - though stacked with Mugabe loyalists - would force the election commission to release the results after a 16-day wait.

Carter offers to be conduit between Hamas and Israel

AIRPORT CITY, Israel - Former President Jimmy Carter defended his plan to meet with the top leader of the violently anti-Israel Hamas movement, saying Monday he hopes to become a conduit between the Islamic militant group and Washington and Israel.

Isolating Hamas is counterproductive, Carter said. Hamas rules the Gaza Strip but is ostracized by Israel, the U.S. and European Union as a terrorist group.

""I think it is absolutely crucial that in the final and dreamed-about and prayed-for peace agreement for this region that Hamas be involved and Syria will be involved,' he told a business conference outside Tel Aviv.

At least 4 Kenyans killed in gang clash

NAIROBI, Kenya - A notorious criminal gang exchanged gunfire with police and put up blazing roadblocks Monday, threatening to spread violence nationwide unless authorities free their leader in an unsettling new danger for Kenya's bloody postelection crisis.

The upheaval started before dawn and killed at least four people as members of the outlawed Mungiki gang protested the death of their imprisoned leader's wife, who authorities said was found beheaded last week. They burned buildings and derailed a train in the capital.

""This is lawlessness and sheer madness,' Joseph Kanyiri, a district commissioner in Nairobi, told The Associated Press.

U.S. envoy, Dalai Lama to discuss Tibet crackdown

WASHINGTON - A senior U.S. official will meet next week with the Dalai Lama to discuss China's crackdown on anti-Beijing protesters in Tibet.

The State Department says Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader will hold talks next Monday in Michigan. Dobriansky serves as special envoy for Tibet.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey says this is the eleventh meeting between Dobriansky and the Dalai Lama since 2001.

He told reporters Monday that they will discuss the ""ongoing and serious problem' in Tibet.