American forces have captured a key operative in the organization of Iraq's al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the top U.S. general said on Tuesday.
Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" that Monday's capture of Abu Abd Al-Aziz, whom he called Zarqawi's "main leader in Baghdad," was "going to hurt that operation of Zarqawi's pretty significantly."
Myers said Al-Aziz was picked up "on the battlefield," but provided no other details.
A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added, "When you look at the picture of the Zarqawi network of the different elements that are known to exist, he's the second-in-command of the Baghdad element and has the reputation of being the 'emir of Baghdad' for Zarqawi."
The official said American forces were involved in the operation that snared Al-Aziz, but was unable to say whether Iraqi government forces played a role.
Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, led by the Jordanian-born Zarqawi, has carried out some of the deadliest attacks against U.S. forces, the Iraqi government and Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq as part of a tenacious insurgency.
LEEDS, England - New evidence suggests that last week's terror attacks were carried out by four suicide bombers of Pakistani origin who were videotaped by surveillance cameras arriving in London from this northern city just 20 minutes before the explosions, officials said Tuesday.
A Danish pizzeria owner has gone to jail for refusing to pay a fine imposed after he barred German and French customers from his restaurant.Denmark jails 'racist' pizza man
Aage Bjerre acted in protest against the French and German governments' opposition to the US-led war in Iraq.
He will now serve an eight-day sentence at a minimum security prison, the Associated Press reports.
"I'm doing it to show my sympathy with the United States," he said. He refused to pay a 5,000-kroner (£461;$800) fine.
In June 2003 a Danish court convicted him of racial discrimination.
The 46-year-old was forced to sell his pizzeria on the western island of Fanoe after repeated vandalism and a plunge in sales.
In February 2003 he had put up signs at his pizzeria with bars through the images of people coloured in the French and German flags.
He also reprinted his menus without German translations.
The island is a popular spot with tourists from neighbouring Germany, but there are few French visitors to Fanoe, which has a year-round population of 3,300.
Damage to BP's Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico put pressure on the oil giant's shares on Tuesday and threatens to harm its growth profile, analysts said on Tuesday.
BP said Thunder Horse -- the largest new oil facility planned in the Americas through 2007 -- was listing at an estimated 20 to 30 degrees following the passing of Hurricane Dennis in the Gulf of Mexico.
The stock fell around 2 percent before recovering somewhat.
BP told Reuters the listing could be due to excess water in ballast tanks and not a result of major structural damage.
Analysts said although the extent of the damage was unknown, it could delay the start of production or be worse for the facility, which is 75 percent owned by BP, with Exxon Mobil holding the rest.
Production of 250,000 barrels per day of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas from the platform was due to begin late this year.
"The best case scenario would be that the facility is recoverable and that production commences in late 2005 or early 2006," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note.
"This would result in a 2 percent volume loss in 2005 and up to a 4.5 percent volume loss in 2006, depending on the eventual start up of the project."
The bank said the worst-case scenario was the facility sinking, which would probably cost BP around a net $2 billion and delay production by about three years. It said this would reduce BP's long-term production profile to around 2 percent per year from 3 percent.
By 0930 GMT the company's shares were down 0.6 percent at 630p, in line with the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas index.
Analysts at stockbroker Williams de Broe noted that if Thunder Horse did not go ahead then BP could lose up 180,000 barrels of oil equivalent production per day in 2006.
"Thunder Horse is also self-insured so any repairs or losses will be incurred by the partners," it added.
LEEDS, England - Army troops blasted their way into a home Tuesday in what police said was a search for explosives, part of a series of raids in this northern city linked to last week's subway and bus bombings in London.
Police now believe all four bombers who attacked trains and a bus in London died in the attacks, Sky News reported Tuesday, citing unidentified police sources.
Detectives believe that all four were British citizens, Sky News said.
The bomber responsible for the explosion on the double-decker bus was believed to be among the 13 people killed on board, and the identification of the attacker led to the raids in Leeds, Sky News and the British Broadcasting Corp. said.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With no major technical snags and a fair weather forecast, NASA cruised through the countdown today for its first space shuttle flight in 2 1/2 years.A thimbleful of cognac to jlfintx. And may the Columbia crew rest in peace.
Discovery and its crew of seven are set to blast off Wednesday with a multitude of NASA cameras watching for the kind of flying debris that doomed Columbia in 2003.
"To be at this moment now is just tremendous," said Stephanie Stilson, a NASA manager who oversaw Discovery's safety modifications. "It leaves me with goose bumps every time I think about it."
She said seeing the countdown under way was especially satisfying because of all the hurdles and setbacks experienced by her team over the past year and more.
"We're finally here. Is this really happening? Are we really going to launch?" Stilson said she asked herself when the countdown clocks began ticking.
"Along the way so many times, we had our hopes up just to find out that we would have to delay for numerous reasons," she said. "We had, of course, hardware problems. We had new modifications that had to be installed that we weren't aware of at the beginning of the flow. We had hurricanes. So a lot of things had been discouraging along the way."
Tropical weather still could interfere. Dennis, although no longer a hurricane, could leave a week of thunderstorms in its wake, and a new tropical depression in the Atlantic was another source of concern.
"We're going to be looking at it quite closely," said test director Pete Nickolenko.
Forecasters were hoping a ridge of high pressure would provide a break in the weather, and they put the chances of an on-time afternoon launch at 70 percent.
Discovery is outfitted with a redesigned external fuel tank, and has dozens of motion and temperature sensors embedded in the wings to detect any blows from fuel-tank foam insulation or other debris. The spaceship also holds a brand-new laser-tipped 50-foot boom that will be used by the astronauts to survey the wings and nose cap for any cracks or holes.
More than 100 cameras on the ground and aboard two planes will focus on Discovery as it climbs toward orbit, and spy satellites as well as astronauts on both the shuttle and the international space station will take their own pictures. The shuttle will spend more than a week at the space station, replenishing its cupboards and repairing broken equipment both inside and out.
NASA failed to request spy satellite pictures of Columbia in orbit, and dismissed the foam that hit the shuttle at liftoff as trivial. The resulting hole in the left wing caused the spacecraft to break apart during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts.
The Columbia accident investigators insisted that NASA rely on spy satellite pictures on all future shuttle flights, and that the space agency have at least three good, useful views of the shuttle on its way to space.