KABUL, Afghanistan

Man dressed as policeman kills six American soldiers

A man dressed in an Afghan border police uniform turned his weapon on American troops in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, killing six U.S. soldiers before being killed in a gunbattle, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said.

The incident appears to be one of the worst in a string of attacks in which members of Afghan security forces have turned against the international troops with whom they’re supposed to be partnered.

The incident took place in Nangarhar province, in the remote district of Pachir Agam, which borders Pakistan, Afghan and U.S. officials said. The district is home to the Tora Bora mountains, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden made a last stand against invading U.S.-led forces in late 2001 before escaping to Pakistan.


Iraqi court convicts Azizof terrorizing Shiite Kurds

An Iraqi court Monday convicted Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein’s longtime foreign minister, of terrorizing Shiite Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war, sentencing him to 10 years in prison.

The jail term piles a new penalty on the 74-year-old Aziz, the only Christian in Saddam’s inner circle, who already faces an execution sentence from another case.

It is the fourth set of charges against Aziz, who is asking Iraqi President Jalal Talabani for a pardon to spare him from execution. Aziz attorney Giovanni di Stefano said that it is also the last legal hurdle that the former diplomat and deputy prime minister had to face before Talabani could consider pardoning him. Aziz has predicted that he will die in prison.

“Ten years, 15 years, life: It is all academic,” said di Stefano, who has criticized the legal proceedings as stacked against Aziz.

“Not even if Clarence Darrow had represented him would the trial have been considered anything close to fair.”

Darrow was a legendary U.S. civil liberties lawyer in the early 20th century.


Three accused of branding Nazi symbol on Navajo man

Three friends had just finished their shifts at a McDonald’s when prosecutors say they shaped a coat hanger into a swastika, placed it on a heated stove and branded the symbol on the arm of a mentally disabled Navajo man.

Authorities say they then shaved a swastika on the back of the 22-year-old victim’s head and used markers to scrawl messages and images on his body, including “KKK,” ‘’White Power,” a pentagram and a graphic image of a penis.

The men have become the first in the nation to be charged under a new law that makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute people for hate crimes.

The case also marked the latest troubling race-related attack in this New Mexico community, prompting a renewed focus among local leaders on improving relations between Navajos and whites.

The defendants are accused of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and could face 10 years in prison if convicted. The sentences could be extended to life if the government proves kidnapping occurred.


Walmart store greeter, 100, injured by pushy customer

A 100-year-old woman who works as a greeter at a Milwaukee Walmart said Monday she is bruised and sore but otherwise OK after a customer pushed her during a dispute Sunday.

In fact, Lois Speelman said she plans to return to work Thursday. “I’m just stiff and sore,” she said. “I’ll deal with that.”

Speelman was working at Walmart when a 37-year-old woman pushed her after apparently becoming upset that Speelman was trying to verify that the woman had paid for water bottles that were inside her shopping cart, Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said. The woman was arrested, and the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office is reviewing the case, she said.

Speelman said she was simply doing her job by making sure the customer had paid for her items when she was attacked. She said she usually works with a partner, but her partner was working on another task.

Speelman said she hit her head and was taken by ambulance to Wheaton Franciscan-St. Francis Hospital, where she underwent a CT scan and was released.


Greenpeace lawsuit claims illegal corporate espionage

A federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges that Dow Chemical, Sasol North America and their contractors waged a two-year campaign of illegal corporate espionage against the environmental group Greenpeace and its allies.

The 56-page suit, filed by Greenpeace in U.S. District Court, says the chemical companies and public relations firms Dezenhall Resources and Ketchum hired former executives at a private security firm to spy on Greenpeace from 1998 to 2000 and to perform a range of “clandestine and unlawful” actions to undermine its anti-pollution efforts against the chemical industry.

Greenpeace said contract agents, including off-duty police officers and former National Security Agency computer security experts, stole thousands of confidential documents, including campaign plans, employee records, and donor and media lists.


Parent outraged over school ban that never was

News ran wild Monday that Heathrow Elementary in Seminole County had banned red and green during December because the colors are associated with Christmas.

The “Fox & Friends” program and other conservative media outlets cited the story as another sign of politically correct overkill.

Trouble is, the report was in error, Seminole County school district officials said.

The story, which first ran on local WESH-TV, quoted an outraged parent saying the school banned red and green because they are Christmas colors. But district spokeswoman Regina Klaers said the unidentified woman never checked with school officials.