- - Thursday, October 21, 2010

SINGAPORE

U.S. citizen faces caning for visa violation

An American businessman is facing the prospect of being caned in Singapore after overstaying his visa by almost half a year, court documents and his attorney said Thursday.

If convicted of violating Singapore’s immigration laws, Kamari Kenyada Charlton, 37, could become the first American in 16 years to be caned in the strict city-state.

Mr. Kamari, who was born in the Bahamas, was arrested at Changi Airport on Sept. 1 when he was about to leave the country, his attorney said.

A charge sheet issued against him said Mr. Kamari had remained in Singapore 169 days after his three-month social visit pass expired on March 15.

SYRIA

Chavez visits Syria to counter U.S. sway

DAMASCUS | On the Middle East leg of an international tour, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that he and his Syrian counterpart are “on the attack” against Western imperialism.

The trip underscores the forces that complicate Washington’s battle for influence in Syria, which is under U.S. sanctions because the State Department considers it a sponsor of terrorism.

Despite U.S. outreach, Syria has remained close to Iran and the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah, while building ties with Venezuela.

In Damascus, Mr. Chavez said that he and Syrian President Bashar Assad are “on the attack to speed up the fall of the imperialist powers so that we have a new, balanced world.”

The two also discussed a proposed oil project and signed several economic agreements.

CANADA

Commander sentenced to life for murders

BELLEVILLE, Ontario | The former commander of Canada’s largest air force base said Thursday that he deeply regretted his “despicable crimes,” moments before he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years for the murders of two women.

Col. Russell Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two sexual assaults and 82 counts of breaking and entering, during which he took hundreds of undergarments from women and girls.

Ontario Judge Robert F. Scott sentenced Williams after the disgraced former elite pilot tearfully addressed the court, lamenting his crimes and the pain he has caused the victims and their families and friends.

FRANCE

Clashes, protests stoke tensions over pensions

PARIS | Police used tear gas and water cannons against rampaging youths in Lyon on Thursday while the French government showed its muscle in parliament, short-circuiting tense Senate debate on a bill raising the retirement age to 62.

Despite growing pressure, President Nicolas Sarkozy held firm on a measure that he says is crucial to the future of France, heightening the standoff with labor unions that see retirement at 60 as a hard-earned right.

Weeks of protests have left at least a quarter of the nation’s gas stations on empty, blocked hundreds of ships at the Mediterranean port of Marseille and even forced Lady Gaga to cancel Paris concerts.

HAITI

At least 53 dead from disease outbreak

ST. MARC | Health officials say an outbreak of severe diarrhea in rural Haiti has killed at least 53 people and sickened hundreds more.

Hundreds of patients have been lying on blankets in a parking lot outside a crowded hospital in the seaside city of St. Marc with IVs in their arms for rehydration.

Doctors have been testing for cholera, typhoid and other illnesses in one of the first fatal disease outbreaks since the January earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people.

TURKEY

U.S. presses Turkey to enforce sanctions

ANKARA | A top U.S. official prodded Turkey on Thursday to enforce international sanctions against Iran, increasing pressure on Ankara to scale back its flourishing trade ties with its neighbor.

“All we want is the sanctions to be imposed throughout the world,” Stuart Levey, U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told Turkish broadcaster NTV after meeting with Turkish government and banking officials for two days to discuss U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

“The purpose of this visit is to maximize our chances that the sanctions imposed on Iran are successful,” Mr. Levey was quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News as telling a group of journalists.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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