Al-Qaeda 'number three' behind UK
ISLAMABAD, Aug 17 (Internet): Pakistani security sources said Wednesday that al-Qaeda's "number three" was behind the alleged plot to blow up several transatlantic flights leaving the United Kingdom.
They also suggested Britain wanted to allow the plotters to try a dry run, without explosives, in order to gather more evidence, but was persuaded to intervene earlier by United States and Pakistani authorities.
British detectives are in Islamabad working with the Pakistani security services with regard to Rashid Rauf, the Briton held in connection with the alleged plot. No decision has been made on whether he will be extradited to Britain.
Abu Faraj al-Libbi, who is suspected of being al-Qaeda's third in command, after Osama bin Laden and the Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been named by Pakistani security sources as the main planner of the alleged plot, according to Dawn, a daily newspaper.
Oil prices fall on stockpiles
LONDON (Internet): Crude-oil prices dropped more than a dollar a barrel Thursday as traders responded to a report of above-average US oil stockpiles and a lack of bad news to drive prices higher.
At late morning in Europe, light sweet crude for September delivery fell $1.15 to $70.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Brent crude contract for October was down $1.14 at $71.69 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.
Options for the September crude contract expire Thursday.
Oil prices had dropped more than $1 Wednesday after the US Energy Department reported that commercial crude oil inventories fell 1.6 million barrels in the week ending Aug. 11. However, inventories remain well above the average range for this time of year at 331 million barrels.
New Orleans jury rules against Merck
NEW ORLEANS (AP): Merck failed to warn doctors about the risks of its painkiller Vioxx and must pay a retired FBI agent $50 million to compensate for the heart attack he suffered after taking the drug, a federal jury found Thursday.
The jury also found that Merck & Co. "knowingly misrepresented or failed to disclose" information about the drug to retired FBI agent Gerald Barnett's doctors.
The same jury was to deliberate later in the day on possible punitive damages for Barnett.
Anger as Bali bomb
convict freed for Indonesian holiday
JAKARTA (AFP): An Islamic militant convicted over the 2002 Bali bombings walked free after his sentence was cut for Indonesia's Independence Day, sparking anger among grieving relatives in Australia.
Puryanto, one of 12 Bali bombing convicts to have their sentences reduced, was handed a three-month reprieve, meaning he had completed his almost five-year term in Borneo island's Balikpapan prison.
"He got a remission and he is now free," said Suiarno, a prison official.