- - Tuesday, July 6, 2010

UNITED KINGDOM

Judge to lead inquiry into torture claims

LONDON | Britain will hold a judge-led inquiry into charges that its spies were complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects held by the U.S. and other allies.

The government also announced Tuesday it will pay compensation to detainees found to have been mistreated in the global pursuit of terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The probe, by a three-member panel headed by retired Judge Peter Gibson, could complicate intelligence sharing with Washington.

It follows civil cases brought against the government by 12 ex-detainees who claim British intelligence agents colluded in their mistreatment in Pakistan, Morocco and elsewhere.

SRI LANKA

Protesters lay siege to U.N. compound

COLOMBO | Hundreds of protesters, led by a government minister, laid siege to the U.N. compound in Colombo on Tuesday, refusing to let workers out in an effort to force the world body to cancel its investigation of alleged abuses committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

Police tried to break up the protest in the evening and escorted some of the trapped workers out of the compound, but quickly pulled back after Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa — who led the protest — ordered them to stop, leaving some U.N. staff trapped inside.

Later, four Westerners left the building after the country’s foreign secretary, Romesh Jayasinghe, who was apparently negotiating with the protesters, entered and left himself in.

GERMANY

Officials up health care premiums

BERLIN | Faced with a ballooning deficit in Germany’s health care system, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided Tuesday to raise premiums and cut into the profits of doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The decision comes after months of wrangling within Mrs. Merkel’s coalition over a fundamental overhaul of the system and after a series of political blows to the chancellor and plummeting support in the polls.

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