International news in brief
Are 2 heads better than 1 for snake? MADRID, Spain - Scientists studying a two-headed snake found in Spain have two major questions: Does one head boss the other around? Will the creature ever find a mate?
The star attraction of the University of Valencia's zoology lab these days is a 10-inch ladder snake, a nonpoisonous species native to Spain, Portugal and France.
A farmer in Spain's southeast Alicante province found the snake in February, and it was transferred to Valencia last week. It now lives in a terrarium with a video camera filming every flicker of its two tongues and four eyes.
So far both heads seem to work fine, and move independently, said Vicente Roca, a University of Valencia zoologist taking part in the study.
The snake is about 9 months old, and it's too early to say if it's a male or female. It is pale gray, with dark lines running from head to tail and transversal lines connecting them. Hence the name ladder, although the rungs disappear with age and the snakes turn light brown.
When mature, the snakes can be up to 5 feet long.Former Argentine official detained in arms-sales case BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Former Argentine economy minister Domingo Cavallo, once hailed as a financial miracle worker before being driven from office, was detained Wednesday in an arms trafficking case worth more than $100 million.
Cavallo was ordered held at a military jail after being questioned by a federal judge about an alleged conspiracy to smuggle arms to Croatia and Ecuador between 1991 and 1995. At the time, Cavallo was serving as economic chief under former President Carlos Menem.
As one of Menem's top aides, Cavallo signed decrees authorizing the sale of 6,500 tons of weapons officially listed as bound for Panama and Venezuela, but which ended up in Croatia and Ecuador.
Prosecutors say the arms shipments - valued at more than $100 million - entered those countries in violation of international arms embargoes.
Cavallo's lawyer, Rafael O'Gorman, called his client's detention "ridiculous."5 Muslims burned alive by mob in India AHMADABAD, India - Rampaging mobs set fire to homes, burning to death five members of a Muslim family in western India, where the worst religious rioting in a decade has killed 815 people over the past five weeks, police said Wednesday.
A Hindu mob burned three houses in Abhasana village, 50 miles south of Ahmadabad, Gujarat state's commercial hub, on Tuesday night. Two men, two women and a child from one family were killed and 42 other Muslims were hospitalized with burns, said Superintendent of Police Vikas Sahay.
Firefighters fought the blazes through the night, and the bodies were recovered Wednesday morning, Sahay said.
In Gujarat's Sabarkantha district, seven houses were set ablaze in the Vadali village Tuesday night. Five people were injured, said police, who did not immediately give the religion of the attackers and victims.
The new violence was reported a day before Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was to visit Gujarat, where the violence began Feb. 27 when a Muslim mob burned a train, killing 60 Hindus.Elderly political prisoner freed in Tibet by Chinese ZHENGZHOU, China - After 19 years in prison, China has freed an elderly Tibetan teacher - a release one leading activist said was an attempt to please the United States.
Tanak Jigme Sangpo, 76, was set free Sunday from Drapchi Prison in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, said John Kamm, president of the San Francisco-based Duihua Foundation. Chinese officials said he was released on medical parole, Kamm said.
China's longest-serving political prisoner, Jigme Sangpo was arrested in September 1983 and sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of "counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda" for campaigning against Chinese rule in Tibet, according to Kamm.
His sentence was extended twice after that and had been due to expire on Sept. 3, 2011, when he would be in his mid-80s. Prison authorities exempted him from physical labor several years ago because of his age, Kamm said.
U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, a prominent critic of the Chinese government, visited Beijing in January and asked Chinese officials to reconsider Jigme Sangpo's case.