- The Washington Times - Friday, June 8, 2007

IRAN

Fourth American’s detention confirmed

TEHRAN — Iran confirmed yesterday for the first time that it is holding an Iranian-American peace activist, the fourth dual citizen it has detained in recent months, according to a semiofficial news agency.

Ali Shakeri of Lake Forest, Calif., was being held on security-related charges and investigated by the security department of the Tehran prosecutor’s office, the Iranian Student News Agency reported.

The State Department had said Mr. Shakeri, a founding board member of the University of California at Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding — who was supposed to have left Iran for Europe on May 13 but never arrived at his destination — was being held at a notorious prison in Tehran.



Iranian Foreign Ministry and judicial officials have confirmed the detention on accusations of espionage of three other Iranian-Americans: Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planning consultant with George Soros’ Open Society Institute; and journalist Parnaz Azima, who works for U.S.-funded Radio Farda.

NEW ZEALAND

Antarctic hut put on endangered list

WELLINGTON — The Antarctic base occupied by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole on foot early last century has been included on a list of the world’s 100 most endangered sites.

The World Monuments Fund, which released the list Wednesday, identified climate change as the biggest threat to the hut, built in 1911 at Cape Evans by Scott’s British Antarctic expedition. The hut is wooden but for decades was permanently frozen. With the ice melting, the timbers have become waterlogged and are rotting.

Thousands of objects and artifacts from the expedition, which cost Scott and his team their lives during their return journey from the South Pole, remain in and around the hut.

CHILE

Fujimori returned to house arrest

SANTIAGO — A Chilean judge ordered former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori back under house arrest yesterday, a day after a prosecutor recommended his extradition to face charges of human rights abuses and corruption in his home country.

Mr. Fujimori, 68, spent five years in exile in Japan after fleeing Peru as his decade-long government collapsed under a corruption scandal. But he flew to Chile on Nov. 6, 2005, as part of an apparent bid to start a political comeback in neighboring Peru.

INDIA

Police probe claim of al Qaeda wing

SRINAGAR — Officials in Indian Kashmir yesterday said they were investigating the authenticity of a video CD that said al Qaeda has started a terrorist unit in India.

Indian TV channels and local news agencies in Kashmir received the video CDs yesterday that showed a masked man claiming to be from al Qaeda and announcing the creation of its Indian wing.

The man, who identified himself as Abu Ibrahim al Asim, said “Kashmir is our door to jihad in India,” referring to an 18-year-old Islamic insurgency against Indian rule that has killed thousands.

SINGAPORE

Five Islamic militants held since 2006

SINGAPORE — Singapore has arrested five Islamic militants since late in 2006, including four members of Jemaah Islamiah, a Southeast Asian militant group linked to al Qaeda, the Home (interior) Ministry said yesterday.

It said Singaporean national Abdul Basheer, 28, who planned to pursue “militant jihad” in Afghanistan, was arrested in February.

Four more Singaporean Jemaah members were detained between November 2006 and April 2007. One of them, Ishak Mohamed Noohu, was part of a team that planned to hijack an airplane and crash it into Singapore’s Changi Airport.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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