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Italy court rules in rendition case

ROME - An Italian appeals court on Wednesday lengthened prison sentences against 23 Americans convicted in absentia in the abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect in the CIA's extraordinary-rendition program.

In upholding their convictions, the court added one year to the eight-year term handed down to former Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and two years to the five-year terms given to 22 other Americans convicted along with him, defense lawyers said. The court did not immediately give a reason for the tougher sentences.

The Americans risk arrest if they travel to Europe. They and two Italians were convicted last year of involvement in the kidnapping of cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street in 2003.

The cleric was taken to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released. - AP

Bulgaria outs its envoys as ex-spies

SOFIA, Bulgaria - The Bulgarian government said it wants to recall senior diplomats abroad who served as secret-police agents before the collapse of communism.

The government will ask President Georgi Parvanov, who appoints ambassadors, to recall those identified this week as Soviet-era spies by a parliamentary panel, Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov told reporters Wednesday. But Parvanov himself has been revealed to be a communist-era spy and quickly said he opposes such a recall.

The panel, set up in 2007 to open the archives of the former State Security Committee, identified on its website 218 ambassadors, deputy mission chiefs, and consuls, or 47 percent of senior diplomats, as having collaborated with the secret police until 1989 to suppress dissent.

"Bulgaria is a member of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and this situation undermines confidence with our allies," Mladenov said. - Bloomberg News

Germany to aid Holocaust fund

WARSAW, Poland - Germany pledged Wednesday to pay $80 million into a fund for Auschwitz-Birkenau to preserve the crumbling barracks, gas chambers, and other evidence of Nazi crimes at the wartime death camp, now a memorial.

Germany is the largest contributor to the fund, which was set up last year to maintain Auschwitz and the satellite camp Birkenau, which operated in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

More than a million people, mostly Jews, died there. Museum director Piotr Cywinski appealed for help in 2008, saying $160 million was needed for repairs. The United States has pledged $15 million.

"Germany acknowledges its historic responsibility to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to pass it on to future generations," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

- AP


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spent another day in a British prison after court officials said an appeal by Swedish prosecutors against a decision granting him bail would not be heard for another day.