Interpol compiles data on pirates

NAIROBI, Kenya - Interpol is compiling a database of fingerprints, photographs, and other personal information on Somalian pirate suspects to help fight piracy at sea, the agency said yesterday.

Without that information, "it is simply not possible to establish their true identity or to make connections which would otherwise be missed," Interpol said in a statement.

Despite international patrols, piracy has exploded in the Gulf of Aden and around Somalia's 1,900-mile coastline.

The United States, Britain, and the European Union earlier signed agreements allowing for piracy suspects to be handed over to Kenya for trial. Kenya currently is holding more than 100 piracy suspects.

- AP

Fear of flu halts ship in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela has quarantined the passengers and crew of a visiting cruise ship for 10 days while officials examine crew members with symptoms of swine flu.

Health official Jorge Alchaer said 1,219 passengers and 460 crew members of Ocean Dream were on board. The ship, operated by Spanish tour agency Pullmantur, is docked at Venezuela's Margarita Island, a popular Caribbean destination.

Three crew members tested positive for swine flu during the cruise, which also stopped in Trinidad and Tobago. Eleven more have symptoms. The sick crew members have been isolated, the company said. Venezuela has reported 60 swine flu cases. None has been fatal.

- AP

Antiterror guard killed in Athens

ATHENS, Greece - Gunmen killed an antiterrorist policeman guarding a witness in central Athens yesterday in a brazen escalation of domestic extremist attacks prompted by massive riots in December.

The death of Nektarios Savvas, 41, whose body was riddled with more than 18 bullets, is the first killing attributed to extremism in Greece for several years.

The officer was guarding the home of a key witness in the trial of the now defunct far-left Greek group Revolutionary Popular Struggle, known by its Greek acronym, ELA. There was no evidence that the gunmen attempted to approach the witness' home, and officials believed the officer was the target.

- AP

Elsewhere:

The new Acropolis Museum in Athens is set to open Sunday, after years of delays. Officials say the museum will boost Greece's bid for the return of the 2,500-year-old sculptures displayed in the British Museum for nearly two centuries.

Myanmar's high court said it would allow a final appeal by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's defense lawyers for reinstatement of two key witnesses at her trial. The court is expected to set a date for the appeal tomorrow.

The death toll from an explosion at a coal mine in Indonesia rose to 31 after rescuers unearthed more bodies. The blast occurred Tuesday in West Sumatra province.