Israel to pay China for canceled deal
JERUSALEM Israel has agreed to pay China $350 million in compensation for its refusal to sell Beijing the Phalcon airborne early warning system under contract, ending a dispute that has soured relations between the countries for almost two years.
China was reported last year to be demanding $1.2 billion in compensation. Israeli radio said the agreement was signed in Beijing on Tuesday by Gen. Amos Yaron, director-general of the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), which developed the Phalcon, and Chinese officials.
Israel Radio, meanwhile, reported yesterday that IAI had signed a $108 million contract with an unnamed Hong Kong company to provide China with two communications satellites for use in transmitting broadcasts of the Olympic Games in 2008.
Mugabe rival held briefly at airport
HARARE, Zimbabwe Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was held briefly at Harare airport on Tuesday after being accused of using false travel documents, an opposition official said yesterday.
“Mr. Tsvangirai was held for 20 minutes at the airport by state agents. They said he had lost his passport and was using a false travel document, but they found that he did have his passport and let him go,” Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Learnmore Jongwe told Reuters.
Although Mr. Tsvangirai’s detention was brief, it added to fears that the government was increasing its harassment of the opposition in efforts to frustrate Mr. Tsvangirai’s bid to end President Robert Mugabe’s 22-year rule in presidential elections March 9 and 10.
Meanwhile, a consulting firm with ties to the Zimbabwean government said yesterday that Mr. Tsvangirai was involved in a plot to assassinate or overthrow Mr. Mugabe.
An official at Dicksen & Madson said he secretly taped a meeting with Mr. Tsvangirai, where they discussed removing Mr. Mugabe from power.
Russia’s top court rules in favor of journalist
MOSCOW The military branch of Russia’s Supreme Court yesterday overturned a Soviet-era order on state secrets that was used to convict a military journalist of treason for possessing classified naval information.
Grigory Pasko was sentenced in December to four years in prison for attending a meeting of Russian naval commanders on sea maneuvers and taking notes of the talks. He also was stripped of his naval rank of captain.
Mr. Pasko maintained he was charged in retribution for his reports on purported environmental abuses by the Russian navy, including the dumping of radioactive waste into the sea. He was acquitted of charges of passing the information to Japanese television journalists.
Mr. Pasko and his attorney, Ivan Pavlov, challenged a 1990 Defense Ministry order that forbade servicemen and all other people with access to state secrets from contacting foreigners when off duty.
Hindu nationalists fight Valentine’s Day
NEW DELHI Hindu nationalists marched to Parliament and burned Valentine’s Day cards yesterday to show their opposition to the growing influence of Western culture in India.
The 20 nationalists, some from parties affiliated with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s ruling coalition, waved religious saffron flags and demanded Valentine’s Day celebrations be banned in predominantly Hindu India. They called the cards obscene because they showed young couples embracing and kissing.
Russian church snubs Vatican on cardinal
MOSCOW A dispute between Russia’s Orthodox Church and the Vatican deepened yesterday when the Russian church abruptly called off plans to receive a senior Catholic cardinal. The snub came after an angry denunciation by the Russian church of Vatican plans to upgrade Roman Catholic structures in Russia. It has plunged their relations into crisis and dealt a heavy blow to any prospects of a visit by the ailing Pope John Paul II, who dreams of healing a 1,000-year-old rift.