ITALY

Sentences are cut for two Americans

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella has shaved two years off the sentence of American Robert Seldon Lady, a former CIA base chief convicted in absentia in the 2003 extraordinary rendition abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect. Mattarella also wiped out the entire penalty - three years - faced by another American convicted in the case, Betnie Medero.

With the clemency decree, announced Wednesday night by the presidential palace, Mattarella reduced Seldon Lady's sentence to seven years from nine. The palace statement noted that "neither of the two is currently in Italy."

They are among 26 Americans convicted in absentia in the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street.

- AP
BELGIUM

Ninth Paris attack suspect is arrested

A ninth person has been arrested in Belgium on terrorism charges in connection with the deadly attacks in Paris last month, prosecutors announced Thursday. They named him as Abdoullah C, a Belgian national born in 1985.

In a statement, prosecutors said Abdoullah C had several contacts with Hasna Aitboulahcen, who is said to have been the cousin of the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Both Abaaoud and Aitboulahcen died last month during a police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. The contacts between Aitboulahcen and Abdoullah C allegedly took place between the Nov. 13 attacks and the Nov. 18 raid.

Abdoullah C was taken into custody Tuesday and later arrested, officials said.

- Tribune Content Agency
BANGLADESH

Militants arrested; bombs discovered

Bangladeshi security forces early Thursday arrested seven suspected members of a banned Islamist group blamed for attacks on foreigners and minority groups in the country.

Those detained in a raid in the Mirpur area of the capital, Dhaka, included at least three "important figures" of the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB, police said.

Police said the search of a residential building led to a cache of bombs, grenades and other explosives. The suspects exploded bombs as the raid started, but no one was injured, officials said. - AP
GERMANY

Teen asylum-seeker earns longer stay

A teenage Palestinian asylum-seeker who broke down in tears after a blunt remark from Chancellor Angela Merkel has won permission to stay in Germany for another year.

Citing unnamed immigration officials, Bild reported that 14-year-old Reem Sahwil and her family had received an extension through March 2017 due to good integration into society.

During a town hall meeting in July, Merkel brought Sahwil to tears after the chancellor told her Germany can't accommodate everyone. Merkel's remark and awkward attempt to comfort the girl was criticized by opposition politicians, but Sahwil later said she appreciated Merkel's honesty. - AP