BENGHAZI, Libya

Rebel council says chief of staff of rebel forces killed

The chief of staff for rebel forces fighting to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was ambushed and killed Thursday, according to the rebels’ leadership council.

In a terse announcement that left many questions unanswered, the president of the council said Gen. Abdul Fatah Younis and two other commanders were killed as they returned from the eastern front.

Reading haltingly from a brief communique, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, president of the Transitional National Council, seemed to blame pro-Gadhafi assassins but did not specifically say they had been sent by the regime.

Jalil did not address reports that Younis was summoned to Benghazi for questioning by the rebel leadership on suspicion of lingering loyalties to Gadhafi.

A rebel military spokesman was quotes as saying rebel security officers arrested Younis and two aides early Thursday at their operations room at the eastern front.

Those reports did not explain how Younis was killed by purported government assassins if he was in rebel custody.

UNITED NATIONS

World citizen No. 7 billion will arrive in India on Oct. 31

The world’s 7-billionth person will be born Oct. 31 in India, according to a projection by researchers working with data from the United Nations.

Medical advances, more effective vaccines, antibiotics and improvements in public-health conditions has boosted life expectancy in developing countries, where most of the population growth is taking place, according to the UN data being reported today in the journal Science.

The number of people globally reached 1 billion in 1800, then 2 billion in 1925, the report said. Within the last half century, the population boomed to just under 7 billion from 3 billion. By 2050, the population will reach 9.3 billion, and 97 percent of the growth will be in less-developed regions, said David Bloom, an economist at Harvard University who wrote the report.

“In the 1960s and 1970s, people expected a population bomb,” Bloom said in a telephone interview. “Now, we have mini-bombs going off in the most fragile parts of the world. “

CAIRO

Judicial official determines Hosni Mubarak is fit or trial

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is fit for trial, a senior judicial official said Thursday, in an announcement that will necessitate the transfer of the ailing 83-year-old former leader from the resort town of Sharm el- Sheikh to Cairo.

Reports that Mubarak’s health was failing and that he was refusing to eat or drink had raised questions about whether he would actually be tried next month on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced him from power this winter.

Deputy Justice Minister Mohammed Munie said that the “final decision” had been made and that the trial, scheduled to begin Aug. 3, will be held in the Cairo Convention Center, the state news agency MENA reported.

BERLIN

Trial period for airport body scanners ends this weekend

Germany says a 10-month trial period of much criticized full-body scanners at one of its major airports will end this weekend as scheduled.

The Interior Ministry said Thursday about 793,000 passengers at Hamburg airport voluntarily used the body scanners since October. It says the results will now be thoroughly analyzed before a decision on the scanners’ permanent use in German airports.

The scanners – which produce an outline of passengers’ bodies beneath their clothes – have been tested at airports in Britain, the Netherlands and the U.S. but are opposed in much of Europe.

German politicians have widely denounced the scanners as an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

— From news service reports