- - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

YEMEN

Tribal chief: Saleh return could spark civil war

SANAA — The head of Yemen’s most powerful tribal confederation warned Tuesday in a letter to the Saudi king that Yemen could plunge into civil war if President Ali Abdullah Saleh is allowed to return home.

Mr. Saleh is currently in Saudi Arabia, where he is receiving treatment for serious injuries from a blast early this month at his palace in the Yemeni capital that left him with severe burns and chunks of wood in his chest.

In his message to King Abdullah, Sadeq al-Ahmar, the influential tribal chief who was an ally of Mr. Saleh before switching sides to join the opposition, appealed to the Saudi monarch to prevent Mr. Saleh from returning to Yemen.

SOUTH AFRICA

Michelle Obama, family meet with Mandela

JOHANNESBURG — Former South African President Nelson Mandela met with Michelle Obama and her daughters on Tuesday, an unexpected encounter between the first lady and the and anti-apartheid icon who has largely retired from public life.

A photo provided by the Nelson Mandela Foundation showed Mr. Mandela, 92, sitting on a couch next to Mrs. Obama, pen in hand to sign an advance copy of his new book, “Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorized Quotations Book.”

Mrs. Obama; daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 10; and her mother, Marian Robinson, were viewing some of Mr. Mandela’s personal papers at his foundation when he sent word that he wanted to meet them at his home in Johannesburg.

BRAZIL

Convict remains jailed in nun’s murder

RIO DE JANEIRO — A rancher convicted of masterminding the murder of a U.S. nun who was also an environmental activist will have to stay in jail while his case is appealed, Brazil’s top court ruled.

The Supreme Court denied a request for release from Vitalmiro Moura, one of the men found guilty of ordering the murder of Dorothy Stang, 73, in 2005. The court issued the ruling June 14, but the decision was not announced in a news release until Monday.

Miss Stang was shot down in the Amazonian state of Para after working for 30 years to protect the rain forest and defend poor settlers’ land rights.

ITALY

Berlusconi wins confidence vote

ROME — Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday it would be “folly” for him to quit two years ahead of term, warning that political instability would leave the country prey to financial speculators.

Hours after winning a confidence vote, he told lawmakers it is important the government remain in power until its five year term ends in 2013 to “avoid ending up like other European countries which are bleeding.”

Mr. Berlusconi clinched a morale-boosting win in the lower Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday in a vote tied to legislation. It was the first parliamentary test of his staying power since two stinging defeats at the polls for his conservative party and his government’s policies in the last few weeks.

NEW ZEALAND

Penguin steps ashore far from home

WELLINGTON — A young Emperor penguin took a rare wrong turn from the Antarctic and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach — the first time in 44 years the aquatic bird has been sighted in the wild in the South Pacific country.

The penguin was likely born during the last Antarctic winter and may have been searching for squid and krill when it arrived on a New Zealand beach, said Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand.

The beach on North Island’s western coast is about 2,000 miles from the Antarctic coast.

FRANCE

Ex-Dior designer Galliano on trial for insults

PARIS — Former Dior designer John Galliano will face his accusers at his trial this week on charges he hurled racial insults to three patrons at a Paris cafe, allegations that shocked the fashion world and cost him his job.

The designer’s lawyer, Aurelien Hamelle, says he will be present at the trial Wednesday.

He’s charged with “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” and could face up to six months in prison and $32,175 in fines. The verdict is expected at a later date.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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