- - Wednesday, August 18, 2010


5 percent tariff levied on U.S. pork

MEXICO CITY | Mexico slapped tariffs on U.S. pork products Wednesday, ratcheting up the pressure on the United States over a long-running dispute over Mexican truckers’ access to U.S. highways.

Mexico published an updated list of U.S. products subject to tariffs, including a 5 percent tax on ham and other pork products.

The government of President Felipe Calderon was infuriated last year when U.S. lawmakers voted to cancel funding for a pilot program begun under President George W. Bush allowing long-haul Mexican trucks to circulate in the United States.

Under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. agreed to open its market to Mexican trucks.

Mexico said the United States was not living up to its end of the deal and retaliated by imposing duties on a long list of U.S. exports, including fruit, vegetables and industrial goods.


Judges order probe of prosecutors

THE HAGUE | Yugoslav war-crimes judges have ordered an independent investigation into charges the U.N. court’s prosecutors intimidated witnesses through threats, sleep deprivation and other tactics, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The probe was ordered following claims of intimidation by witnesses testifying in the trial of ultranationalist Serb politician Vojislav Seselj, spokesman Christian Chartier said.

Mr. Seselj is accused of inciting atrocities by Serbian paramilitaries during the Balkan wars in the early 1990s, which he denies. He has vowed to turn his trial into a circus.

Mr. Seselj sent judges statements in which witnesses, whose names were not released, claim “sleep deprivation during interviews, psychological pressuring, an instance of blackmail … threats, or even illegal payments of money,” according to the decision.


Court revokes parole for American activist

LIMA | A court in Peru revoked parole for American activist Lori Berenson and ordered that she be arrested Wednesday and sent back to prison to finish the last five years of her 20-year prison sentence for aiding leftist rebels.

Deputy Justice Minister Luis Marill said Berenson should be detained immediately. He said the court overturned a May ruling granting Berenson parole that was widely unpopular in Peru.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the criminal appeals court may not be appealed under Peruvian law. The decision was announced two days after the 40-year-old New Yorker appeared at a hearing, apologizing for her crime and asking the court to uphold her parole.


18 children killed in school collapse

LUCKNOW | Rescuers in northern India were looking for 10 children and two teachers believed to be buried in the debris of a school building demolished by a mudslide on Wednesday.

An official said the disaster killed at least 18 children, while eight have been rescued from the single-story school. Officials said the children were aged between 6 and 13.


27 Afghans freed from Taliban prison

KABUL | NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said Wednesday they had uncovered a makeshift Taliban prison holding 27 Afghans in chains.

The men were found Tuesday in a compound at Musa Qaleh in Helmand province during an operation by Afghan and coalition forces that killed 13 insurgents, the International Security Assistance Force said.

Dawood Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand’s governor, said two of the 27 freed prisoners worked for an Afghan aid agency.


Greeks reassure Arabs about Israel ties

ATHENS | Greece moved Wednesday to reassure Arab allies over the strength of its friendship, following an improvement in ties with Israel after a landmark visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Improved Greek-Israeli ties were “for the good of Greece and all of the Middle East region … and do not exclude our close cooperation with the Arab world, and particularly our Palestinian friends,” said Dimitris Droutsas, Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister, in an interview with radio station Flash.


Foreign aid workers to be deported

KHARTOUM | Sudan’s government confirmed Wednesday it will expel several international aid workers from the restive western region of Darfur, without specifying how many.

Reports from earlier this week said six foreign staffers, including employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.N.’s refugee agency, had been verbally told to leave the country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Muwaia Khaled told the Associated Press the aid workers were being deported individually and the deportation does not reflect on the groups for which they work.


Police probe massacre of Germans in 1945

PRAGUE | Czech police have launched an investigation into the May 1945 killing of more than a dozen German-speaking civilians, after the discovery of a World War II-era grave, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Investigator Michal Laska was quoted as telling Hospodarske Noviny that the remains of at least four people had been found so far at the burial pit uncovered last week in the central Czech village of Dobronin.

He said DNA from the remains was set to be compared with that of persons now living in Germany to help confirm the identity of the victims.

The remains are believed to be those of a group of German-speaking farmers who lived in and around Dobronin and are thought to have been shot by a hit squad on May 19, 1945.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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