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Originally published Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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World Digest

Falsehoods led to man's torture, report says

The Pacific nation of Tonga buried its beloved King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV today in an elaborate state funeral that mixed tribal traditions...

A government commission said Monday that Canadian police informed U.S. authorities an Ottawa man was an Islamic extremist suspected of links to al-Qaida — inaccurate information that likely led the Americans to deport him to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured.

The commission of inquiry into the case of Syrian-born Maher Arar exonerated him of all suspicion of terrorist activity and urged the federal government to offer financial compensation. Arar claims he was a victim of extraordinary rendition — or the U.S. transfer of foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.

Arar, a software engineer, was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was detained at New York's Kennedy Airport on Sept. 26, 2002, during a stopover on his way to Canada from Tunisia.

Arar said U.S. authorities sent him to Syria for interrogation as a suspected al-Qaida member, an allegation he denied.

He spent nearly a year in prison in Syria. After his release in 2003, Arar made detailed allegations about extensive interrogation, beatings and whippings with electrical cable in Syrian prison cells.

Commissioner Dennis O'Connor also criticized the U.S. and recommended that Ottawa file formal protests with both Washington and the Syrian government over Arar's treatment.


North Korean sanctions approved

Japan's Cabinet approved a new set of financial sanctions against North Korea today in response to the communist nation's missile tests in July, the government's top spokesman said.

The sanctions ban money transfers and overseas remittances by groups and individuals suspected of links to North Korean weapons programs.

North Korea's moribund economy is heavily dependent on cash infusions from a large community of sympathetic ethnic Koreans in Japan.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

2 execs charged in toxic-waste case


Authorities arrested and charged two executives of a Dutch commodities company whose dumped toxic waste has caused seven deaths and widespread sickness in the Ivory Coast's largest city, a government official said Monday.

The toxic waste, which U.N. experts say contains the potentially dangerous chemical hydrogen sulfide, was shipped to Abidjan last month by a vessel chartered by commodities trader Trafigura Beheer and dumped — apparently illegally — across the city. The Dutch company said it was dumped by a local contractor.

Hospitals have provided free treatment to 44,000 people in the past few weeks.


The Pacific nation of Tonga buried its beloved King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV today in an elaborate state funeral that mixed tribal traditions with Christian prayers, royal pomp with village-style feasts. Led by his son and successor, King Siaosi Tupou V, dignitaries from 30 nations joined an estimated 10,000 people in a funeral service at the Tongan Royal Tombs.

Compiled from The Washington Post and The Associated Press

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