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Chechens cleared of American death

Published May 6, 2006

MOSCOW - A jury on Friday acquitted two Chechen men accused of killing U.S. journalist Paul Klebnikov on a Moscow street almost two years ago. The victim's relatives urged Russia to investigate his slaying "with renewed vigor."

Klebnikov, a 41-year-old New Yorker of Russian descent and the Forbes Russian edition editor, was shot to death in Moscow in July 2004. He had investigated corruption and sought to shed light on the closed, violent world of Russian business.

Prosecutor Dmitry Shokhin said that the state might appeal the verdict, which he said was influenced by "gross violations" of procedural legislation. Under Russian law, acquittals can be appealed.

Prosecutors claimed Kazbek Dukuzov, 32, and Musa Vakhayev, 42, killed Klebnikov on behalf of Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, a Chechen separatist figure who was the subject of a critical book by Klebnikov and remains at large.

Food panel finds no link between sweetener, cancer

ROME - The popular diet sweetener aspartame won another round in the safety debate when a European panel of scientists said Friday there is no sign it raises the risk of cancer.

An Italian study last year wrongly concluded the sugar substitute led to higher rates of lymphoma and leukemia in rats, said the experts who advise the European Food Safety Authority. The researchers who conducted the rat study insisted that their initial findings were correct.

The panel's findings support a large U.S. federal study released last month, which found no link to cancer in a study of aspartame use among more than half a million Americans.

Aspartame is found in thousands of products, including diet sodas, chewing gum, dairy products and even many medicines. It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet, Equal and Canderel.

U.S. antiterror law waived for some asylum seekers

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has waived a provision of U.S. antiterror law to allow about 9,300 members of the Karen minority of Myanmar to be considered for political asylum in the United States, the State Department said Friday.

The Karens had been declared ineligible for asylum because the Homeland Security Department determined they had "provided material support" to the Karen National Union, a resistance group opposed to central government control. Combatants or members of the Karen National Union still would not be eligible.

[Last modified May 6, 2006, 06:59:24]

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