- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BURMA

U.S. tightens financial sanctions

The United States yesterday tightened sanctions against Burma, citing continuing human rights violations and repression there.

The moves target the financial network of tycoon Tay Za, identified as an arms dealer tied to the ruling junta, relatives of regime leaders and individuals and businesses in Tay Za’s financial network, the Treasury Department said.

The action freezes their assets under U.S. jurisdiction and bars Americans from doing business with them.

KENYA

U.S. Peace Corps suspends operations

NAIROBI — The U.S. Peace Corps said yesterday it temporarily suspended operations in Kenya after weeks of violence over a disputed election.

While no Peace Corps volunteers have been targeted in the violence that has engulfed Kenya since the Dec. 27 elections, the Washington-based group decided to withdraw its remaining 58 volunteers, said spokeswoman Amanda Beck. Another 144 volunteers were sent home last month after the violence first erupted, she said.

HONG KONG

Chinese reporter free after 3 years

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong journalist charged with spying for Taiwan was released from prison in mainland China yesterday after being detained for nearly three years.

Ching Cheong, a Hong Kong-based correspondent for Singapore’s the Straits Times newspaper, declined to speak to reporters after returning home from a prison in the southern city of Guangzhou.

In a handwritten statement, Mr. Ching said he is glad to be able to join his family for this week’s Lunar New Year.

FRANCE

Sarkozy, wife win lawsuit against airline

PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new wife, Carla Bruni, won a lawsuit against Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, which was ordered to pay nearly $89,000 for an advertisement featuring a photo of the couple.

Mr. Sarkozy and Mrs. Bruni filed separate lawsuits that were heard together in a court session in Paris, seeking damages for the carrier’s use of the image for commercial purposes without permission.

Mrs. Bruni, a former model turned singer, was awarded the equivalent of $88,974. She had sought a sum worth $741,450. Mr. Sarkozy asked for a symbolic one euro — worth $1.47 — which the court granted.

UZBEKISTAN

Amnesty granted to rights activists

MOSCOW — Authorities in Uzbekistan granted amnesties to two prominent rights activists in what could be part of government efforts to thaw frosty ties with the West.

Saidjahon Zainabitdinov, who spent nearly three years in jail, said yesterday by telephone from his home, in the city of Andijan, that he was released Monday under an amnesty approved by the ex-Soviet republic’s parliament in November.

Mr. Zainabitdinov had provided reporters and international rights organizations with accounts of the violent crackdown on a 2005 uprising in Andijan, saying troops fired on thousands of demonstrators, most of them civilians.

The amnesty also applied to another prominent rights activist, Umida Niyazova, ending her seven-year suspended sentence for distributing anti-government publications and her illegal border crossing.

GERMANY

Baby girl saved by policeman’s catch

LUDWIGSHAFEN — Trapped by smoke, the parents of a 9-month-old baby girl faced an excruciating dilemma: If they threw her out of the window, would she be caught four stories below?

The split-second decision paid off: Onur fell safely into the arms of a policeman below. The parents also survived, though the mother was still in a hospital yesterday, two days after the blaze that killed nine persons, including five children.

The drama at a building in southwestern Germany was captured in a series of photographs of the baby in free-fall as a group of anguished adults, thick smoke billowing around them, watched.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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