- - Monday, December 6, 2010

BRITAIN

WikiLeaks founder may surrender

LONDON | Julian Assange’s lawyer was arranging to deliver the WikiLeaks founder to British police for questioning in a sex-crimes investigation of the man who has angered Washington by spilling thousands of government secrets on the Internet.

Lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters in London that the Metropolitan Police had called him to say they had received an arrest warrant from Sweden for Mr. Assange. Mr. Assange has been staying at an undisclosed location in Britain.

The 39-year-old Australian is wanted on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion in Sweden, and the case could lead to his extradition. Interpol placed Mr. Assange on its most-wanted list on Nov. 30 after Sweden issued an arrest warrant. Last week, Sweden’s highest court upheld the detention order.

Mr. Assange has denied the accusations, which Mr. Stephens has said stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex.” The lawyer has said the Swedish investigation has turned into a “political stunt.”

ISRAEL

Teen arrested in forest fire

JERUSALEM | Israeli police said they have arrested the “prime suspect” in the nation’s worst wildfire — a 14-year-old boy who says the blaze was an accident.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the boy was arrested Monday. Questioned by police, he told them he had been smoking a water pipe Thursday and threw some burning coals into an open area in the Carmel forest in northern Israel.

Mr. Rosenfeld said the boy told police he panicked, fled the scene and returned to school without telling anyone as the fire quickly spread through the forest.

Mr. Rosenfeld would not say how police found the boy or whether he was connected to other suspects. Police have two other youths under house arrest.

Forty-two people died in the blaze.

HAITI

Cholera outbreak kills more than 2,000

PORT-AU-PRINCE | Haitian officials said more than 2,000 people have died of cholera since late October.

According to the official count, more than 91,700 people have been sickened by the disease.

Cholera had never been seen in Haiti before the outbreak began along the rural Artibonite River. Due to dire sanitation and systemic health care shortages, it has spread to every region of the country.

Aid workers have tried to bring the epidemic under control, but it continues to rage, especially in rural areas.

The United Nations said last week that the death and infection tolls could be twice as high as officially reported.

Haiti also is recovering from a devastating earthquake on Jan. 12 that killed as many as 250,000 people.

IRAN

World powers press Iran on nukes

GENEVA | Six world powers held their first talks with Iran in more than a year on Monday, pressing Tehran to focus on the need to defuse fears that its nuclear activities could be harnessed to make weapons.

Delegates from Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany met at a conference center in Geneva, with talks beginning after European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton escorted Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief negotiator, into the session.

Tehran says it does not want atomic arms and insists its nuclear program is designed only to provide more power for its growing population. Yet as Iran builds up its capacity to make such weapons, neither Israel nor the U.S. has ruled out military action if Tehran fails to heed U.N. Security Council demands that it freeze key nuclear programs.

MEXICO

Nations may pledge carbon limits at talks

CANCUN | More countries are expected this week to pledge specific actions to limit carbon emissions over the next decade, in what would be very good news for arduous negotiations on a climate-change agreement, host country Mexico said.

Newly arrived government ministers began applying political weight Monday to talks being held in Cancun, as the 193-nation U.N. climate conference moves into its decisive final week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports