World briefs – June 13

The al-Qaida mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was killed this week at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces who didn’t immediately realize they had killed the most wanted man in East Africa, officials said Saturday.

Al-Qaida mastermind killed

NAIROBI, Kenya — The al-Qaida mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was killed this week at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces who didn’t immediately realize they had killed the most wanted man in East Africa, officials said Saturday.

The death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed — a man who topped the FBI’s most wanted list for nearly 13 years — is another major strike against the worldwide terror group that was headed by Osama bin Laden until his death last month.

Mohammed had a $5 million bounty on his head for allegedly planning the Aug. 7, 1998, embassy bombings. The blasts killed 224 people in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania combined. Most of the dead were Kenyans. Twelve Americans also died.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — who was on a visit to Tanzania on Saturday as Somali officials confirmed Fazul’s death — called the killing a “significant blow to al-Qaida, its extremist allies, and its operations in East Africa.

“It is a just end for a terrorist who brought so much death and pain to so many innocents in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and elsewhere — Tanzanians, Kenyans, Somalis, and our own embassy personnel,” Clinton said.


4 people shot along U.S. highway

DURHAM, N.C. — Four people have been found shot to death along a highway in a North Carolina business research park.

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office says the bodies of three women were found early Saturday in a car on N.C. Highway 54 in Research Triangle Park, while the body of a man was outside the car. Lt. Stan Harris says the shootings weren’t random, but he said he couldn’t disclose any other details.

Officers responded after receiving a call just before midnight of shots fired. Harris says that when officers arrived, the victims’ car was the only one on the road.

The bodies were at the state Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday. Authorities had not released the victims’ names because the families hadn’t been notified. The Research Triangle Park is a 7,000-acre (2,800-hectare) research and development park. It’s home to more than 170 global companies that employ about 48,000 workers. Companies located there include IBM, Cisco and Credit Suisse.


Taxes on lap dances

ALBANY, N.Y. — Getting a lap dance isn’t the same as taking in a ballet, so an alcohol-free strip club will have to pay the tax man, a New York state court has ruled.

Four Appellate Division justices agreed with a state tax appeals commission’s earlier finding that dances onstage or in private rooms at the club Nite Moves in suburban Albany don’t qualify for a state tax exemption as “dramatic or musical arts performances.”

Nite Moves contested a tax bill of nearly $125,000 plus interest on lap dances and admission fees stemming from a 2005 audit. Its attorney, W. Andrew McCullough said Friday the club has a later, larger bill it is also challenging, and that he would probably appeal the Appellate Division ruling.

McCullough said the impact of the ruling probably won’t be widespread since most establishments featuring exotic dancers as entertainment are bars mainly selling alcohol where other tax rules apply.


Rep. Weiner asks for leave of absence

WASHINGTON — Rep. Anthony Weiner is asking for a temporary leave of absence from the House of Representatives while he seeks professional treatment in the wake of his Twitter scandal.

A spokeswoman for the New York Democrat says he has left for professional treatment and will focus on “becoming a better husband and healthier person.”

Spokeswoman Risa Heller says Weiner wants the leave of absence so he can be evaluated and work out a course of treatment. The statement doesn’t say what Weiner would be treated for.

Just before Weiner issued the statement, leading Democrats had demanded that he step down.

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