Shoot-out off Cuba kills 2 smugglers

HAVANA - Drug smugglers rammed a Cuban coast-guard boat and opened fire, setting off a shoot-out in which two smugglers died, state news media reported yesterday.

Coast guards spotted a Bahamas-registered speedboat Monday in Cuban waters near Maisi in the easternmost province of Guantanamo, according to a statement in the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

The speedboat's four unidentified crew members, all believed to be Bahamians, ignored orders to halt, instead opening fire and ramming their craft into the patrol boat.

Authorities found about 1,300 pounds of marijuana aboard. Although illegal drug use is limited in Cuba, traffickers often use the island or its waters to move narcotics from the Caribbean to the United States. - AP

Carlos the Jackal faces French trial

PARIS - The Cold War-era terrorist Carlos the Jackal was ordered to stand trial for his alleged role in bombings in 1982 and 1983 in France - including two attacks to gain his jailed girlfriend's freedom, a judicial official said yesterday.

Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere ordered Carlos, whose real name is Ilich RamirezSanchez, to stand trial in the four attacks, which killed 12 people and injured at least 100, a judicial official said.

Ramirez, 57, is already serving a life sentence in France for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informer. He gained international notoriety as the mastermind of deadly bombings, killings and hostage dramas. After years on the run, Ramirez was captured in Sudan in 1994 and hauled in a sack to Paris by French secret service agents.- AP

Stick-up gang wields guns, glue

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A gang of robbers with handguns and an assault rifle forced a man to strip naked and then glued him to his exercise bike and sealed his lips with more glue while they ransacked his house, according to a published report.

Kobus van Deventer, 50, was left stuck to the bike with super-strong glue for three hours until he was rescued by his girlfriend, the South African Press Association reported.

Van Deventer was carjacked Wednesday while driving in Johannesburg's northern suburbs. South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, with about 50 people a day being slain. The government is desperate to counter the country's violent image, especially in the runup to the soccer World Cup it will host in 2010.- AP

Elsewhere:

Ukraine's president and prime minister reached agreement yesterday on holding early parliamentary elections in a bid to end a political standoff between the rival leaders.

A former warlord who has long lived by his gun was sworn in as mayor of Mogadishu yesterday and ordered residents of the Somalian capital to get rid of their weapons.

Scientists unveiled bones from two 82-foot behemoths they said were the largest dinosaurs ever found in Australia.