IAEA finds traces of plutonium
VIENNA, Austria — International Atomic Energy Agency specialists have found unexplained plutonium and highly enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for details, a report from the U.N. watchdog said yesterday.
The report, prepared for next week’s meeting of the 35-nation IAEA, also faulted Tehran for not cooperating with the agency’s attempts to investigate suspicious aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that have led to fears it might be interested in developing nuclear weapons.
Both highly enriched uranium and plutonium can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
Group petitions to probe Rumsfeld
BERLIN — Lawyers for inmates of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba asked German prosecutors yesterday to open a war crimes investigation of outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials in the abuse at the detention centers.
The lawyers who filed the lawsuit acknowledged that, while there was little chance of seeing Mr. Rumsfeld in a German jail, the point was simply to increase the pressure on top brass they say are culpable. German federal prosecutors said they would examine the case.
The lawsuit, which also names 13 other U.S. officials, was sent to federal prosecutors under a German law that allows the prosecution of war crimes regardless of where they were committed. A Pentagon spokesman said the complaint appeared “frivolous.”
Anne Frank’s tree to be cut down
AMSTERDAM — The old chestnut tree visible from Anne Frank’s attic window that comforted the Jewish teenager as she hid during the Nazi occupation is rotten and must be cut down, the City Council said yesterday.
The tree in the courtyard behind the canal-side warehouse where the Frank family took refuge for more than two years has been attacked by an aggressive fungus and a moth, the council said. Specialists estimate the tree’s age at 150-170 years.
The Anne Frank House Museum said grafts and a sapling from the original chestnut have been taken and it hopes to replace the once-towering tree with its progeny.
President says deal on Hariri probe void
BEIRUT — Lebanon’s pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday branding as illegitimate the government’s approval of a U.N. framework for a court to try the suspected killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Mr. Lahoud said that he had not agreed to the draft statutes and that the Cabinet session that approved the draft was illegitimate.
A U.N. commission investigating the assassination has implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian security officials in the killing of Mr. Hariri. Damascus denies involvement.
Former colonel held in failed coup plot
MANILA —A former colonel and leader of the political opposition who reportedly was among the key plotters of February’s failed coup against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was arrested today.
Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, 58, also a former senator, went into hiding shortly after he was charged over the coup plot, which led Mrs. Arroyo to declare a state of national emergency.
He had evaded a nationwide manhunt for nine months, forcing a frustrated police leadership to offer a $100,000 bounty on his head.
Boy lobbies to keep mother in U.S.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress was swayed yesterday by a 7-year-old boy on a mission to save his mom.
Second-grader Saul Arellano, a U.S. citizen, appeared in the 500-member Chamber of Deputies to plead for help in lobbying Washington to stop the deportation of his mother, an illegal alien who has taken refuge in a Chicago church.
His efforts paid off with a resolution calling on the Bush administration to suspend the deportation of Elvira Arellano and any other illegal parents of U.S. citizens.
U.S.-Mexico fence termed ‘inhuman’
VATICAN CITY — A senior Vatican cardinal yesterday condemned the building of walls between countries to keep out immigrants and said Washington’s plan to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border was part of an “inhuman program.”
Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, made his comments while presenting Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in which the pope called for more laws to help immigrants integrate.
President Bush signed legislation last month approving the construction of a 700-mile fence — a move that angered Mexico’s government.
From wire dispatches and staff reports