- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

SAUDI ARABIA

300 militants convicted of terror

RIYADH | A Saudi criminal court has convicted and sentenced one al Qaeda militant to death and given more than 300 others jail terms, fines and travel bans in the country’s first known terrorism trial involving the terrorist network, officials said Wednesday.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said the court looked into 179 cases involving the 330 defendants who were found guilty. The spokesman did not give any details about the person sentenced to death, but his punishment suggests that he could be a senior member of al Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia has pursued an aggressive campaign against militants since May 2003, when they first began attacks in the kingdom, which is al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s birthplace and home to 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

NETHERLANDS

Court dismisses Karadzic request

THE HAGUE | The Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal on Wednesday rejected Radovan Karadzic’s request to dismiss his indictment based on a claim that he cut an immunity deal with U.S. peace envoy Richard C. Holbrooke.

The former Bosnian Serb leader has been arguing since his capture nearly a year ago that he should not be tried on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes because Mr. Holbrooke promised him in 1996 that he would not be prosecuted by the U.N. court if he relinquished power.

Mr. Holbrooke, who is now President Obama’s special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, has denied striking an immunity deal with Mr. Karadzic.

The decision takes the court a step closer to starting Mr. Karadzic’s long-awaited trial for purportedly masterminding Bosnian Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, including the siege of Sarajevo and the 1996 slaying of 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica - the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

CHINA

Iron ore company’s negotiator detained

BEIJING | Chinese authorities are detaining Rio Tinto Ltd.’s top iron ore negotiator on suspicion of espionage and stealing state secrets, Australia said Wednesday, threatening to strain already fraying ties.

Details about the detention of Stern Hu, as well as three other Rio employees, emerged just as a Shanghai paper reported Chinese steel mills have finally given in on annual iron ore prices, conceding to a 33 percent cut for six months, although Rio Tinto and Chinese executives said talks were ongoing.

It was not clear whether there was any tie between the two, but the detention follows a period of increasingly tense relations between the two vast trading partners, with iron ore negotiations running past the June 30 deadline and Rio snubbing a planned $19.5 billion investment by Chinalco last month.

NORTH KOREA

Frail leader makes rare appearance

PYONGYANG | A thin-looking Kim Jong-il made a rare public appearance Wednesday as North Korea paid solemn respects to his father, the country’s late founder, on the 15th anniversary of his death.

The memorial was the second major state event that Mr. Kim, 67, has attended in person since reportedly suffering a stroke last summer. In early April, he presided over a parliamentary meeting where he was re-elected as leader.

Footage from broadcaster APTN showed Mr. Kim dressed in a khaki suit, looking more gaunt and with less hair than in April, when he was seen limping slightly while walking into the packed Pyongyang auditorium in what is thought to be an effect from the stroke.

BRITAIN

Scientists claim human sperm creation

LONDON | British scientists claimed Wednesday to have created human sperm from embryonic stem cells for the first time, an accomplishment that they say may someday help infertile men father children.

The technique could in 10 years allow researchers to use the basic knowledge of how sperm develop to design treatments to give infertile men the chance to have biological children, said lead researcher Karim Nayernia of Newcastle University, whose team earlier produced baby mice from sperm derived in a similar way.

The research, published in the journal Stem Cells and Development, was conducted by scientists at Newcastle and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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