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In the World

Australian Taliban freed from prison

ADELAIDE, Australia - Australian David Hicks, the first person convicted at a U.S. war-crimes trial since World War II, was freed from prison today after completing his U.S.-imposed sentence.

Hicks, 32, captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in December 2001, pleaded guilty in March, after more than five years at Guantanamo prison, to providing material support to al-Qaeda and returned to Australia to serve out his sentence.

Released from South Australia state's Yatala prison, Hicks was met by his father, Terry, and lawyer and driven away in a car with a police escort. He was to make a statement later today. Terry Hicks said his son was likely to apologize for any inconvenience he caused and to thank his supporters for helping to secure his release from Guantanamo.

- AP

Jailed French aid workers leave Chad

LE BOURGET, France - Six French charity workers sentenced to eight years' forced labor in Chad for trying to kidnap 103 children were transferred yesterday to France and jailed after arriving, judicial officials said.

The six from Zoe's Ark were sentenced in Chad on Wednesday and sent home under a 1976 judicial accord between the two countries that allows for the repatriation of convicts. The prospect of their return provoked protests in the former French colony, with Chadians denouncing what they see as special treatment for Europeans.

Because France does not have forced labor, the French justice system is likely to commute or reduce their sentences. Chad officials must agree to any sentencing changes.

Chad authorities stopped the group's convoy with the children in October. The charity had planned to fly the children to France.

- AP

E-card will track visitors in Mexico

MEXICO CITY - Mexico plans to use cards with electronic chips to better track the movements of Central Americans who regularly cross its southern border to work or visit.

Starting in March, the National Immigration Institute will distribute the cards to record the arrival and departure of so-called temporary workers and visitors. They will replace a nonelectronic pass formerly given to foreigners who cross into Mexico, which has proven "easily alterable and subject to the discretion of migration agents," the institute said.

Mexico detained more than 182,000 undocumented migrants in 2006, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador en route to the United States. Many others cross legally from Guatemala and Belize to work or visit.

- AP


President Bush will host

Turkish President Abdullah Gul at the White House on Jan. 8, a meeting sure to be dominated by Turkey's incursions into Iraq.

Two foreign aid workers

kidnapped in northern Somalia on Wednesday are believed to be safe, and police are on the trail of the gunmen who abducted them, Somalian officials said yesterday.

Former Peruvian President

Alberto Fujimori, on trial in Lima for murder and kidnapping, told the court he had "saved Peru" by stamping out a Maoist rebel movement.