2 gay men found dead in Baghdad

BAGHDAD - The bodies of two gay men have been found in Baghdad's Shiite slum of Sadr City after a leading cleric repeatedly condemned homosexuality, an Iraqi police official said yesterday.

The killings come after Shiite cleric Sattar al-Battat condemned homosexuality during recent Friday prayers. Homosexual acts are punishable by up to seven years in prison in Iraq.

The two men were believed killed Thursday by relatives who were shamed by their behavior. Police said they suspected the killings were at the hands of family members because no one had claimed the bodies or called for an investigation.

The killings come weeks after Iraqi police found four bodies buried near Sadr City with the words pervert and puppies written on their chests. Puppy is a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to homosexuals, the police official said. - AP

Coroner testifies in student's death

PERUGIA, Italy - A British student killed in Italy was attacked by more than one person, a medical examiner testified yesterday in the trial of an American suspect and her former boyfriend.

Suspect Amanda Knox - who has said she is innocent of charges of murder and sexual violence in the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher - kept her head down as graphic images from Kercher's autopsy were shown in court, according to prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. Raffaele Sollecito, who also denies wrongdoing, glanced at the images sporadically, Mignini said.

Prosecution witness Vincenza Liviero, a medical examiner, testified behind closed doors to comply with a request from Kercher's family to preserve the victim's memory. "It was an action carried out by more than two hands, and there was sexual violence," Liviero told reporters at the end of the hearing. - AP

93 rebels killed, Sri Lanka says

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Fierce fighting between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels defending their last remaining territory in the country's war-ravaged north killed 93 rebels yesterday, the military said.

The military also said it destroyed three rebel boats and recovered a torched bulletproof vehicle belonging to the rebel leader. Government forces are in what they say is a final push to defeat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and end 25 years of civil war.

A string of major victories by the military in recent months, in which the rebels' administrative capital and main bases were captured, has pushed the guerrillas into a small strip of coastal land in the northeast. - AP


Eleven people were found shot to death around Mexico yesterday, some bearing signs of torture and left with threatening messages emblematic of drug violence. On Friday, Alberto Rayas Rodriguez, the chief homicide detective in western Jalisco state, was killed when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on his car.