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NYC car-bomb suspect to appear in court

NEW YORK, May 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama vowed "justice will be done" in the failed New York car-bombing and terrorists who threaten the United States will be held accountable.


"Justice will be done, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect the American people," Obama said Tuesday in remarks to the Business Council. "This incident is another sobering reminder of the times in which we live. Around the world and here at home there are those who would attack our citizens and who would slaughter innocent men, women and children in pursuit of their murderous agenda."

Federal agents and New York police detectives arrested Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, around midnight at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the man was preparing to leave aboard a flight to Dubai, a statement from the U.S. attorney's office, the FBI and New York police said.


Shahzad, 30, will appear in federal court Tuesday to be formally charged, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Authorities said they believe Shahzad, 30, bought the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder found loaded with gasoline, propane, fireworks and fertilizer in Times Square Saturday, The New York Times reported.

"This investigation is ongoing, as are our attempts to gather useful intelligence, and we continue to pursue a number of leads," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement issued from Washington. "But it's clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans."

Authorities focused on Shahzad after they traced the sport utility vehicle to its previously registered owner in Bridgeport, Conn., who advertised it for sale on the Internet and provided some information about the transaction to investigators, the Times said. Unclear was how Joint Terrorist Task Force agents identified Shahzad.

Holder said the investigation is "multifaceted, and it is aggressive. As we move forward, we will focus on not just holding those responsible for it accountable, but also on obtaining any intelligence about terrorist organizations overseas."

Officials cautioned an investigation of possible international contacts did not mean a link to a known terrorist group was established, The New York Times said.


"It's a prominent lead that they're following, the international association," a senior official told the Times. "But there's still a lot of information being gathered."

Obama said terrorists who try to carry out attacks want U.S. citizens "to live in fear and thereby amplifying the effects of their attacks, even those that fail."

But, Obama said, "as Americans, and as a nation, we will not be terrorized. We will not cower in fear. We will not be intimidated."

Budget cuts in Greece met with anger

ATHENS, Greece, May 4 (UPI) -- Protesters took to the streets in Athens, Greece, Tuesday to denounce steep government spending cuts, which officials defended as necessary.

Greece is facing tax hikes, cuts in benefits, reduced services and a wage freeze for government employees, as the government attempts to comply with terms on $143 billion in international loans needed to meet its obligations.

Angry Greeks marched on the Acropolis early Tuesday in a show of support for civil servants who are conducting a two-day strike, Radio France Internationale reported.

Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos, meanwhile, said Greece would not survive without the spending cuts.

The cabinet in Germany has approved its $30 billion contribution to an international effort to help Greece, the EUobserver reported.


In France, the National Assembly approved a $22 billion loan for Greece.

Thai PM offers to hold general elections

BANGKOK, May 4 (UPI) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva offered to hold a general election as part of a plan to try to reach reconciliation with anti-government protesters.

Abhisit said Monday a general election could be held Nov. 14 if protesters agreed to five conditions, the Bangkok Post reported Tuesday.

The conditions include:

-- The monarchy cannot be used as a pawn in political conflicts.

-- Thailand must be reformed by addressing economic disparities and inequality.

-- Media must refrain from reporting events that exacerbate social or political conflicts.

-- An independent fact-finding panel must review fatal incidents involving security forces and protesters.

-- All sides must cooperate in the reconciliation process.

"Today, we seek to mend political disputes stemming from many causes," Abhisit said.

The Nov. 14 election would involve dissolving parliament 45 to 60 days in advance of balloting, based on the Thai constitution, the Post said.

Government and leaders of the anti-government movement, known by the red shirts worn by followers, had been in talks about the timing of the dissolution of the House, a person knowledgeable about the discussions said.


Government officials said they were open to discussions about amnesty for people who violated emergency law barring political gatherings of more than five people, but could not offer amnesty for those who committed acts of violence.

The protesters have been conducting their activities since last month from their base in Bangkok's main business district, demanding the dissolution of parliament. Most of the protesters are supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.

More than two dozen civilians and security forces have been killed and several hundred injured in explosions and clashes between police and the protesters in Bangkok since the protests began. The demonstrations also severely affected businesses and tourism in Thailand.

May 4, 1970: 'Four dead in Ohio'

KENT, Ohio, May 4 (UPI) -- Forty years ago Tuesday, Kent State University in Ohio became forever linked with the student protests of the Vietnam War.

After four days of escalating unrest sparked by the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, 28 Ohio National Guardsmen fired at campus protesters, killing four and wounding nine. The deaths became emblematic of the Vietnam War protest movement and were memorialized in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young anti-war anthem, "Ohio."


"Anywhere that you go in the world, people know about Kent State," KSU President Lester Lefton told the Akron Beacon Journal, "although they may not necessarily know why."

The university created a Web site to handle the swell of media inquiries about the landmark commemoration, initiated a walking tour of the site and is working to raise $1.5 million to create a May 4 museum in the campus building nearest the shooting site, university officials said. In addition, Kent State won recognition for the site on the National Register of Historic Places.

"It was like a war zone," Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala, a lifelong city resident who was in his 20s during the demonstrations, told the Beacon Journal. "There were helicopters flying over houses with floodlights all night long."

After years of trying to play down the anniversary, the university in 1990 officially recognized May 4 with a memorial surrounded by daffodils. During the past few years, Kent State, the city and the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority put aside differences to plan a conference center, hotel and parking deck in downtown.

"It will change the whole city," Fiala said. "There was ill feeling over the years, but we're moving ahead. We recognize that what happened is part of history."


Prisoner cuts ear, escapes with help

SALFORD, England, May 4 (UPI) -- A British prisoner allegedly cut off part of his ear to gain access to an ambulance and then escape with help from masked accomplices, officials said.

Michael O'Donnell, 28, was awaiting sentencing at a prison in Salford when an ambulance was called Monday to treat him for what appeared to be a self-inflicted ear injury, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

O'Donnell, convicted of conspiracy to rob and commit burglary, was en route to a local hospital when four masked men in a stolen BMW forced the ambulance to stop.

The men smashed the ambulance with baseball bats and bolt cutters before fleeing with O'Donnell, who had been handcuffed to a guard. The guard released him during the ambush, Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said. None of the three guards accompanying O'Donnell was injured.

"This was a terrifying attack," Hopkins said, adding O'Donnell "needs to be caught and put back where he belongs."

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