Fire hits business of activist's family

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Relatives of an anticrime crusader who was gunned down last week outside a Mexican state governor's office lost their family business Saturday to unknown arsonists, firefighters reported.

The blaze that consumed the lumber operation in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, was apparently set intentionally, the local fire department said in a statement. The business belongs to the family of Jose Monge, the husband of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, who waged a two-year battle to bring her 17-year-old daughter's killer to justice before she herself was shot to death.

The main suspect in the killing, Sergio Barraza, was ordered released in April for lack of evidence, and last week Escobedo planted herself outside the offices of Gov. Cesar Duarte and vowed not to move until investigators showed progress in the case.

Security video recorded her killing Thursday night by masked gunmen who pulled up in a car and shot her in the head. Barraza is now a chief suspect in Escobedo's murder, according to Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the attorney general's office in Chihuahua state. - AP

20 insurgents die in Afghan battle

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - NATO said its troops killed more than 20 insurgents Saturday in fighting that broke out after a patrol came under fire in eastern Afghanistan.

The gun battle between NATO forces and insurgents took place in the Tagab district of Kapisa province, where coalition forces called in air support, NATO said. It claimed Taliban commanders were among the more than 20 insurgents killed.

A day earlier, more than five insurgents were killed in a three-hour firefight in the same district following sniper fire on Afghan and international forces manning a checkpoint, NATO said. The coalition did not say what nationality the international troops were, but French forces are stationed in the area.

A French soldier was killed Friday after a reconnaissance mission came under fire in the neighboring district of Alasay in Kapisa, bringing the total number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 51. - AP

Sudanese leader accused of theft

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Saturday that he has evidence Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has stolen billions of dollars from his impoverished country.

"From different sources, we have information about possible accounts that could belong to President Bashir in foreign banks," Luis Moreno Ocampo said in a statement. But he said that his prosecution is focused on Bashir's alleged orchestration of genocide in Darfur and not suspected embezzlement.

"The most urgent reason to arrest Mr. Bashir is not because he could have billions in his secret accounts but because he is still controlling an ongoing genocide in Darfur," Moreno Ocampo said. Bashir, who was reelected to a five-year term this year, refuses to recognize the court's authority and has insisted he will not turn himself in to stand trial. - AP

Elsewhere:

A boat packed with passengers capsized on a river in northeastern Bangladesh late Saturday, leaving at least 35 people dead and about 20 others missing, officials said. The boat carrying about 80 people collided with a sand-laden cargo vessel in the dark on the River Surma in Sunamganj district, about 110 miles northeast of the capital, Dhaka, local government officials Abul Hashem and Matiur Rahman said.