- - Tuesday, February 1, 2011

PAKISTAN

Court blocks release of American suspect

LAHORE | A Pakistani court ordered the government Tuesday not to release a U.S. official arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis despite U.S. insistence that he has diplomatic immunity and has been detained illegally.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry also told the government to place the American on the “exit control list” so that he cannot leave the country.

Some legal experts questioned whether the court had the authority to issue such orders, but the rulings could further complicate what has become a serious diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has argued that the American, who it has not named, acted in self-defense when he shot the two men in Lahore on Thursday because they were trying to rob him at gunpoint.

RUSSIA

Report: Russia loses control of satellite

MOSCOW | A Russian news agency said the country’s space forces have lost contact with a newly launched military satellite.

Tass said the military has failed to establish radio communications with the satellite launched Tuesday from the northern Plesetsk launchpad. There was no immediate comment from the Defense Ministry.

The military said earlier the satellite was put into orbit by a Rokot booster rocket.

The state-controlled Khrunichev rocket maker said on its website the GEO-IK-2 Reshetnev satellite was intended for geodetic studies, which involve measuring or determining the shape of the earth, or with locating exactly points on its surface.

The apparent mishap follows a failed launch of three GLONASS-M satellites in December, which cost two space officials their jobs.

NIGERIA

Iranian: Not guilty in arms-seizure case

LAGOS | An Iranian charged with orchestrating an illegal arms shipment into Nigeria that contained mortars and military-grade weapons pleaded not guilty Tuesday during a surprise court hearing.

Azim Aghajani and his alleged accomplice, Nigerian national Usman Abbas Jega, both maintained their innocence against three charges over the shipment security agents discovered in October. Judge O.J. Okeke ordered the two men to be held by the State Security Service, Nigeria’s secret police, until a Feb. 15 trial.

The intended final destination of the weapons appears to be Gambia, a narrow sliver of a country surrounded by Senegal.

IRELAND

Election set for Feb. 25

DUBLIN | Ireland’s parliament was dissolved Tuesday for a long-awaited Feb. 25 election as Prime Minister Brian Cowen exited the political stage defending his management of the nation’s plunge toward bankruptcy.

Mr. Cowen declared a formal end to his government two months after he was forced to negotiate a $92 billion loan package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, a measure he had insisted Ireland did not need.

CANADA

100 dogs killed after business slows

VANCOUVER, British Columbia | Police are investigating the slaughter of about 100 sled dogs by an outdoor adventure company in British Columbia.

Both the British Columbia SPCA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the slaughter.

The gruesome event was described in documents awarding compensation to a worker who claimed post-traumatic stress disorder for having to shoot the dogs after bookings dropped sharply for a tour operator after the 2010 Winter Olympics.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

A Pakistani court ordered the government Tuesday not to release a U.S. official arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis despite U.S. insistence that he has diplomatic immunity and has been detained illegally.

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