- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2010

UNITED KINGDOM

WikiLeaks preparing to release more files

LONDON | WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange said Thursday his organization is preparing to release the remaining secret Afghan war documents it possesses.

Mr. Assange said his group was about halfway through those 15,000 secret files. He gave no specific time frame, but assured an audience at London’s Frontline Club the files would be posted on the Internet.

The whistleblower group has said the remaining documents were being held back from publication so that it could comb through them to ensure Afghan lives were not put at risk.

IRAN

Woman facing death appears to confess

TEHRAN | Iranian state television has broadcast a purported confession by an Iranian woman who had faced death by stoning for adultery, a case that has drawn statements of concern by the U.S. administration.

The stoning sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was commuted last month after international outrage over the brutality of the punishment, but she still faces a possible death sentence by other means.

A woman identified as Mrs. Ashtiani said in the interview broadcast late Wednesday that she was an unwitting accomplice to her husband’s murder. The woman also criticized her attorney, Mohammad Mostafaei, for publicizing her case.

RUSSIA

Heat wave scorches one-quarter of crops

MOSCOW | One-quarter of Russia’s crops have been lost in a record heat wave, President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday, warning that many farms were on the verge on bankruptcy.

“We have a very complicated situation because, as a whole in the country, around a quarter of the grain crops have been burned,” Russian news agencies quoted him as saying in the southern town of Taganrog.

“Unfortunately, many farms are on the verge of bankruptcy on account of the death of the harvest.”

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier this month shocked markets by announcing that Russia would ban exports to keep prices down at home and ensure there was enough feed grain for its cattle.

SOUTH AFRICA

Zuma: Zimbabwe on ‘correct path’

PRETORIA | South African President Jacob Zuma will tell a regional summit next week that Zimbabwe is “on the correct path” under its unity government, a Foreign Ministry official said Thursday.

Mr. Zuma is the official mediator in Zimbabwe for the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which holds its annual summit on Monday and Tuesday in Namibia.

He visited Zimbabwe in March to press long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and the new prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to settle their differences over a raft of key government appointments and to press forward the reform process.