Israel grabs land for settlement expansion
EFRAT, West Bank - Plans to expand a West Bank settlement by up to 2,500 homes drew Palestinian condemnation Monday and presented an early test for President Barack Obama, whose Mideast envoy is well known for opposing such construction.
Israel opened the way for possible expansion of the Efrat settlement by taking control of a nearby West Bank hill of 423 acres. The rocky plot was recently designated state land and is part of a master plan that envisions the settlement growing from 9,000 to 30,000 residents, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi said.
Israeli officials said any new construction would require several years more of planning and stages of approval.
The outgoing government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said it reserves the right to keep building in large West Bank settlement blocs that it wants to annex as part of a final peace deal with the Palestinians. Efrat is in one of those blocs.
2 Czech trains crash, injuring at least 43 people
PRAGUE - Two trains crashed head on in the Czech Republic on Monday, and at least 43 people were reported injured.
The accident took place near a train station in Northern Moravia, a region 200 miles east of Prague, the capital.
Ondrej Kubala, an official with the Czech Rail authority, said the crash occurred when a small local commuter train with 110 people aboard went through a red light and left the station ahead of schedule at about 25 mph. It collided head on with a larger train that slammed on its breaks while carrying 120 passengers.
Roadside bombs kill 8 Iraqi Shiite pilgrims in Iraq
BAGHDAD - Roadside bombs struck a pair of minibuses filled with Shiite pilgrims returning to Baghdad on Monday, killing eight people, officials said, in the latest of a series of deadly attacks targeting the pilgrims.
The first bomb rocked a minibus pulling into a busy square in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, killing four and wounding 11 others, said a police official.
The second minibus, also coming from Karbala, was hit in the Shiite neighborhood of al-Kamaliya in southeast Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 13 others, said the police official.
DNA test pending in case of young father in Britain
LONDON - A DNA test will be performed to determine if a 13-year-old boy fathered a baby with his 15-year-old girlfriend, his spokesman said Monday.
The test comes after a Sunday tabloid newspaper reported that other teenage boys have come forward claiming to be the father of the newborn baby girl.
Spokesman Max Clifford said the parents of Alfie, 13, said the tests would be done 'as soon as possible' to determine paternity.
'He obviously believes he's the father,' Clifford said. 'I think that having read the News of the World yesterday, it would be prudent to have a DNA test.'
Australian wildfire suspect named as toll hits 189
CHURCHILL, Australia - The only person accused of lighting one of Australia's deadly wildfires was a lonely Web-surfer who liked dogs, always said 'G'day' to neighbors, and was trying to find love online.
Brendan Sokaluk, a 39-year-old who reportedly once served as a volunteer fighter, was named as the suspect police arrested last week, as the death toll from the wildfires edged up to 189 on Monday.
Authorities were forced to keep Sokaluk at a secret location to protect him from potential reprisal attacks after a magistrate lifted a ban on publishing his name.
Swedish online pirates facing copyright charges
STOCKHOLM - Demonstrators waved the Jolly Roger outside a Stockholm court Monday as four men linked to popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay rejected copyright infringement charges and claims for damages by film and music companies.
All four pleaded innocent as the trial - much awaited by file-sharing enthusiasts and the entertainment industry - got under way amid intense media coverage at the Stockholm District Court.
The defendants are accused of breaking Swedish copyright law by helping Internet users download protected music, movies and computer games for free.