- - Monday, July 5, 2010

CYPRUS

Authorities search spy suspect’s laptop

NICOSIA | Cyprus police are searching the contents of a confiscated laptop belonging to an alleged Russian spy who has vanished, the east Mediterranean island’s justice minister said on Monday.

Loucas Louca said U.S. authorities have requested the laptop and “more than one” USB memory stick belonging to Christopher Metsos, 54.

Mr. Louca said the laptop and USB memory sticks were confiscated on June 29 when Mr. Metsos was arrested trying to board a flight to Budapest. The items were not returned to Mr. Metsos after a Cyprus court released him on $33,000 bail on June 30, after which he promptly disappeared.

Mr. Metsos is wanted in the U.S. on charges that he supplied money to a spy ring that operated under deep cover in the suburbs. He arrived in Cyprus on June 17, traveling on a Canadian passport.

ISRAEL

Israel to let most goods into Gaza

JERUSALEM | Israel dropped its long-standing restrictions on allowing consumer goods into the Gaza Strip on Monday but retained limits on desperately needed construction materials, redefining the rules of its heavily criticized Gaza embargo on the eve of the Israeli prime minister’s trip to the White House.

The new rules, which come in response to an international outcry after a deadly Israeli raid on a blockade-busting protest flotilla, should bring some relief to Gaza’s 1.5 million people.

Yossi Gal, director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, announced the changes Monday, saying the government had made “a very serious effort” to make a “very clear distinction between the security needs of Israel, that we are committed to keep, and everything else.”

But Palestinians and human rights activists were skeptical because of the remaining restrictions.

The decision ends the use of a narrow and often arbitrary list of foods and consumer goods allowed into Gaza. And in a boost to the moribund Gaza economy, Israel announced that some raw materials would soon be allowed to flow to Gaza’s shuttered factories.

AFGHANISTAN

McCain: War plan may get ‘tweaking’

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