- The Washington Times - Friday, May 14, 2010

LIBYA

Crash survivor reunites with relatives

TRIPOLI | Still groggy from surgery, the Dutch boy who was the sole survivor of a Libyan plane crash that killed 103 people greeted an aunt and uncle with a smile Thursday after they rushed to his hospital room from Holland.

But a Dutch Foreign Ministry official said 9-year-old Ruben van Assouw still may not realize the full extent of his loss because he has not yet been told his parents and older brother were killed in the crash on Wednesday. They were returning home from a family vacation in South Africa to celebrate the parents’ 12 1/2-year wedding anniversary - a Dutch tradition.

Rescuers found Ruben still strapped into his seat at one end of a large debris field after the crash Wednesday as the plane was landing in the Libyan capital Tripoli. He was found about half a mile from a big piece of the tail section, indicating he may have been sitting in the front of plane when it shattered into pieces.

UNITED NATIONS

U.N. elects violators to rights panel

Seven countries accused of human rights violations have won seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council in an uncontested election, including Libya, Angola and Malaysia.

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday approved all 14 candidates for the 14 seats on the 47-member council by wide margins.

Human rights groups criticized the poor human rights records of seven countries that won seats - Libya, Angola, Malaysia, Thailand, Uganda, Mauritania and Qatar.

The seven other countries that won seats were Maldives, Ecuador, Guatemala, Spain, Switzerland, Moldova and Poland.

The 14 countries will serve three-year terms on the Geneva-based council, which was created in March 2006 to replace the U.N.’s widely discredited and highly politicized Human Rights Commission.

CHILE

Police search house of detainee’s friend

SANTIAGO | Police on Thursday searched the apartment of an Egyptian man who befriended a Pakistani national arrested with traces of bomb-making material at the U.S. Embassy.

Police made no official statements about the raid, but local news media reported that the Egyptian, who attended the same mosque as Mohammed Saif-ur-Rehman Khan, was inside the apartment and was being questioned as part of the investigation.

Mr. Khan, 28, is being held under Chile’s anti-terrorism laws while being investigated for alleged explosives violations. He was detained Monday after he was summoned to the embassy because his U.S. visa had been revoked, and security equipment there detected traces of explosives on his cell phone and papers.

RUSSIA

Court sentences spy to 4 years in prison

MOSCOW | A city court on Thursday jailed a Russian citizen for four years for handing secrets to the U.S., in a rare public espionage scandal between two ex-foes keen to bury their Cold War past.

Gennady Sipachev was convicted of spying for the United States by handing over top secret Russian military maps for the Pentagon to assist the targeting of U.S. missile systems, Russian official news agencies reported.

The verdict was the first time information had been made public about the case, which comes at a time when Moscow and Washington have been working to improve relations.

The investigation found that Sipachev had sent the maps, which were classified as state secrets, to the U.S. through the Internet.

He was sentenced after being found guilty of “state treason in the form of espionage.” No details were given on his age, occupation or background.

NIGERIA

Ex-governor arrested on graft charges in Dubai

ABUJA | A fugitive Nigerian former governor facing charges of siphoning off millions of dollars of state assets and money laundering has been arrested in Dubai, the anti-graft police said Thursday.

James Ibori, governor of the southern oil rich Delta between 1999 to 2007, was arrested by Interpol on Wednesday.

Mr. Ibori is charged with embezzling $290 million of public funds and money laundering while he was in office.

London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed Mr. Ibori’s arrest.

However, Interpol’s office in Abu Dhabi declined to confirm or deny reports of Mr. Ibori’s arrest. Officials with Dubai and Abu Dhabi police departments said they had no information on Mr. Ibori having been arrested.

ISRAEL

Fishing to be banned in Sea of Galilee

JERUSALEM | The Israeli government is echoing the words of Jesus with a new ban - asking the fishermen of the Sea of Galilee to cast aside their nets.

Jesus appealed to the fishermen to drop their work and follow him. The Israelis, however, have a more mundane reason - officials say a decade of overfishing has left the aquatic population of the biblical body of water in danger.

The fishing ban will be in effect for two years, but even afterward, no one is expecting modern times to follow biblical history, when Jesus directed fishermen to a spot where a “multitude of fish” nearly sank their boats.

VENEZUELA

Natural-gas platform sinks off shore

CARACAS | An offshore natural-gas platform sank off Venezuela on Thursday, and 95 workers were rescued, the government said.

All of the workers on the Aban Pearl platform off eastern Sucre state were safely evacuated, and the sinking poses no threat to the environment, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told state television.

The navy rescued the workers using a frigate and boats after the gas platform disappeared into the Caribbean Sea at 2:20 a.m.

The Singapore-flagged platform, built in 1977, has a capacity of 98 people and is owned by a subsidiary of Indian company Aban Offshore.

From wire dispatches and staff reports