- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2010

ISRAEL

Netanyahu cancels trip to Washington

JERUSALEM | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Washington next week to take part in President Obama’s 47-country nuclear security conference.

Mr. Netanyahu made the decision after learning that Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel’s presumed nuclear arsenal at the conference, a senior government official said on Friday.

Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East but has never confirmed or denied that it possesses atomic weapons.

IRAN

U.S. group targets Honeywell over Iran

NEW YORK | A pressure group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), is urging industrial conglomerate Honeywell International Inc. to stop selling security technology to Iran, the group said Thursday.

Honeywell security products can be used for surveillance of oil pipelines and nuclear reactors, UANI said in a letter faxed to Honeywell it provided exclusively to Reuters.

The sale of security technology, via a British subsidiary, violates guidelines for business conduct, UANI said, adding it may sue or pressure the New York Stock Exchange to delist Honeywell if the company continues operations in Iran.

BRAZIL

U.S., Brazil to sign defense accord

BRASILIA | The United States and Brazil may sign a new agreement as early as Monday meant to bolster military ties, despite tensions over Iran and signs a U.S. firm might lose a major Brazilian defense contract.

Pentagon officials acknowledged Wednesday a new defense cooperation agreement with Brazil was being worked on and could be signed as early as next week. Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said he hoped it could happen Monday.

“I’m trying to agree with Secretary Gates to sign this accord in Washington on Monday,” Mr. Jobim said, referring to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

BRAZIL

200 feared dead in Rio mudslide

NITEROI | At least 200 people were buried under tons of mud and feared dead on Thursday after a slum built atop a former landfill gave way in the latest deadly landslide to hit metro Rio de Janeiro.

If confirmed, the deaths would raise the toll sharply from the 153 people already known to have died this week in slides triggered by record rains.

Pedro Machado, subsecretary of Rio state’s Civil Defense department, told Globo TV that as many as 60 houses and at least 200 people were buried in the Morro Bumba slum in Niteroi, a city of about 500,000 just across the bay from Rio.

NETHERLANDS

U.N. judges reject Karadzic’s ploy

THE HAGUE | Judges at the Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal have rejected former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s latest attempt to halt his genocide trial.

Mr. Karadzic asked Tuesday for his trial to be stopped, saying it was unfair for prosecutors to be allowed to use around 1,500 statements and pieces of testimony from previous trials at the U.N. court without giving him a chance to cross-examine the witnesses.

In a four-page ruling Thursday, judges said Mr. Karadzic would have “ample opportunity” to present his own evidence to rebut the prosecution’s case.

SOUTH AFRICA

Hominid find sheds light on evolution

MAROPENG | Two skeletons of a new hominid species dating back 2 million years have shed light on a previously unknown stage in human evolution, scientists said Thursday.

Dubbed Australopithecus sediba, the partially fossilized specimens - an adult female and a juvenile male - were found in 2008 in a cavern 24 miles from Johannesburg.

“They, ladies and gentlemen, are potentially a Rosetta stone into the past,” said Lee Berger, a paleo-anthropologist at the University of Witwatersrand.

“They represent a completely new and unexpected species of human ancestor to science - something we did not think was there.”

The hominids walked upright and share several traits with the first known species of homo sapiens.

They both had long arms like apes but short and powerful hands, according to a paper to be published in the journal Science.

They have evolved pelvises, small teeth and long legs that would enable them to run like a human. It is also probable that they could climb trees.

NIGERIA>

Nigerian leader takes first U.S. trip

ABUJA | Acting President Goodluck Jonathan travels to Washington this weekend to meet President Obama on his first foreign trip as leader of Africa’s most populous country.

The visit comes as Washington becomes more outspoken about its concerns over the political uncertainty plaguing the OPEC member ahead of its presidential elections next year.

A Nigerian presidency source said Mr. Goodluck and Mr. Obama would focus their discussions on ways to prevent global terrorism, four months after a Nigerian citizen tried to blow up a U.S. passenger jet as it neared Detroit.

SOMALIA

Islamists take over U.N. base

MOGADISHU | Somalia’s hard-line Shebab militia raided and took over a United Nations base that was no longer operational in the south of the lawless country, officials and witnesses said Thursday.

The heavily armed fighters stormed the U.N. compound Wednesday in Wajid, some 250 miles southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Local resident Ahmed Kofurow said the militants also took over an air strip that was used by U.N. agencies in Wajid.

“The Shebab deployed two vehicles and dozens of heavily armed militants at the air strip today. The security guards there left after they were disarmed,” Mr. Kofurow said.

The Shebab, which controls south and central Somalia, in February banned the World Food Program from the country a month after it suspended its work in regions controlled by insurgents due to attacks and extortion by the group.

Last year, the Shebab administration in the south-central regions of Bay and Bakool handed aid groups a list of 11 rules to comply with, including a registration fee of $20,000, payable twice a year.

Mired in almost uninterrupted civil conflict since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre and plagued by recurring natural disasters, Somalia is often described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

ROMANIA

Supreme court justice held in graft probe

BUCHAREST | A Romanian supreme court judge was detained Thursday on suspicion of corruption, the first time that such a senior member of the judiciary had been arrested, judicial sources said.

Florin Costiniu, 60, who can be held for 24 hours, is accused of having interceded with several magistrates in favor of two businessmen facing trial.

The two entrepreneurs also were detained.

The detention is the latest sign of an anti-corruption drive by authorities in the graft-plagued country and comes after Catalin Voicu, a senator for the opposition Social Democrats, was arrested for his involvement in this case.

Mr. Voicu and Mr. Costiniu are accused of having received a total of 289,000 euros ($385,000) from the two businessmen.

The two men have denied the accusations.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide