As Cleric Heads Here, A Call For 'Dignity'

Looking like he'd relish terminating John McCain (right), former Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) is the host of the first in a series of symposia sponsored by the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, at the University of Southern California. That's NPR's Cokie Roberts between them.
Looking like he'd relish terminating John McCain (right), former Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) is the host of the first in a series of symposia sponsored by the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, at the University of Southern California. That's NPR's Cokie Roberts between them. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: September 25, 2012

LONDON - A European court ruled Monday that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri can be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges, including allegedly trying to set up an al Qaeda training camp in rural Oregon.

The decision ends a long-running legal battle and means that al-Masri, considered one of Britain's most notorious extremists, could be deported within weeks, along with four other terrorism suspects in Britain.

Authorities in the U.S. have for years asked for Al-Masri and the others to be handed over, but the process had been delayed because the men raised human-rights objections.

The men had argued before the European Court of Human Rights that they could face prison conditions and jail terms in the U.S. that would expose them to "torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" in breach of the European human-rights code.

In April, the court, based in Strasbourg, France, rejected those claims.

The suspects, who are accused of crimes such as raising funds for terrorists, could face life sentences in a maximum-security prison.

Al-Masri was arrested in Britain in 2004 at the request of U.S. authorities, who have called him "a terrorist facilitator with a global reach."

NEW YORK - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appealed Monday to Muslims to show "dignity" and not resort to violence as they protest an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

Speaking at her husband's Clinton Global Initiative before meeting the presidents of Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Pakistan on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly, Clinton said that the United States would always champion the rights to peaceful protest and free expression even if it deplored the content of the speech.

Her comments came as demonstrators angry over the vulgar depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in the video continue to protest around the Muslim world and a Pakistani government minister put a $100,000 bounty on the head of the filmmaker.

"Dignity does not come from avenging insults, especially with violence that can never be justified," Clinton said. "It comes from taking responsibility and advancing our common humanity."

Fomenting grievance, she said, produces violent protests that accomplish nothing in the way of improving living standards, creating jobs or developing societies.

"Building schools instead of burning them, investing in their people's creativity, not inciting their rage, opening their economies and societies to have more connections with the wider world, not shutting off the internet or attacking embassies" is the way to better life, she said.

"Extremists around the world are working hard to drive us apart," Clinton warned. "All of us need to stand together to resist these forces and to support democratic transitions under way in North Africa and the Middle East."

TEHRAN, IRAN - A senior Iranian commander says that the country's newly produced missile-carrying drone has a range of 1,250 miles, which puts much of the Middle East within operating distance of Iranian territory.

The description of the aircraft is like that of the American RQ-170 Sentinel, one of which went down in Iranian territory last year. Iran said in April that it was building a copy of the RQ-170.

The Islamic republic's defense industry frequently announces technological breakthroughs that are impossible to verify independently.

Iran says the drone has civilian and military uses.

WASHINGTON - Discover Bank will refund $200 million to more than 3.5 million cardholders to settle charges that its telemarketers used deceptive tactics to sell credit-card "add-on" products, such as credit-score tracking and identity-theft protection.

Discover also agreed to pay $14 million in civil penalties as part of the settlement, announced Monday by federal regulators.

The company's telemarketing scripts falsely implied that the add-ons were free "benefits," regulators said. Fast-talking telemarketers skipped over costs and terms and failed to disclose eligibility requirements, they said. Some even charged consumers without their consent, the regulators said.

Discover is the second major bank to reach such a settlement in recent months. In July, Capital One Bank agreed to refund $140 million to 2 million customers and pay an additional $25 million penalty after an investigation found that the bank's vendors had used deceptive marketing tactics to pressure consumers into paying for add-ons.

TRENTON - Amtrak is going to break the speed limit in the Northeast Corridor. The rail service announced Monday that it will operate test trains overnight at 165 mph in four stretches from Maryland to Massachusetts.

Acela Express equipment will be used for the tests, which were to start at about 10:30 p.m. Monday in New Jersey and will continue into next week, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said.

All the locations may one day have regular 160 mph service; the current top speed limit is 150 mph.

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks meandered sideways Monday as fears about Europe overshadowed recent excitement about central banks' efforts to boost the market. Stocks opened lower, recovered by mid-afternoon to nearly flat and closed down modestly.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 20.55 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,558.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 3.26, or 0.2 percent, to 1,459.89. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 19.18 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,160.78. The Nasdaq is heavy in technology shares, which were dragged lower by Apple.

- Daily News wire services

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