- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 27, 2007


Condemned medics cleared of defamation

TRIPOLI — Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of infecting about 400 Libyan children with HIV and facing the death penalty were cleared yesterday of defamation charges in a related case.

The medical workers, who deny infecting the children, were condemned to death in December at the end of a retrial. But their acquittal in the defamation case raised hopes among their support-ers.

“This judgment gives hopes for the overall fair outcome of the trial against the Bulgarian medics,” Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said.


Estee Lauder heir bids to head WJC

JERUSALEM — Cosmetics billionaire Ronald Lauder said yesterday that he would seek the presidency of the World Jewish Congress, whose longtime leader Edgar Bronfman resigned this month.

The WJC, which has been hit by financial scandal in recent years, fired one of its top leaders, Israel Singer, in March.

“While I intend to fix what is wrong, I also intend to make the WJC what it once was and will be again: one of the leading representative organizations of Jews everywhere,” Mr. Lauder said.

The WJC, with headquarters in New York, was founded in 1936 with the aim of aiding the survival and growth of the Jewish people and their culture.


Government to accept Guantanamo inmates

SAN’A — Yemen said yesterday that it had agreed with the United States to take back most of the remaining Yemeni inmates held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

Officials said President Ali Abdullah Saleh discussed the issue with U.S. officials during a visit to Washington earlier this month.

Five American lawyers visiting Yemen said 100 Yemenis were being held at Guantanamo Bay. Eight Yemenis have been released and seven were approved for repatriation four months ago, lawyer Martha Rayner told a press conference in San’a.


Hamas spokesman sees release for journalist

LONDON — A British Broadcasting Corp. journalist kidnapped in Gaza is alive and well and could be released soon, a Palestinian government spokesman said.

Speaking at a literary festival in Wales Saturday, Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said he knew the “small group” holding Alan Johnston and was personally involved in negotiations to free him.

“I know that he is well and healthy, and in a good situation. No one has tried to harm him or hurt him,” Mr. Hamad said. He said he hoped efforts to release Mr. Johnston would bear fruit “very, very soon.”


Adventurer plans North Pole swim

LONDON — A British adventurer is planning to highlight the effects of global warming by becoming the first person to swim at the North Pole and break his own record for the coldest swim.

Sporting just a cap, trunks and goggles, Lewis Gordon Pugh will swim 0.6 miles in water at a temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit on July 15, a dip he expects to last 21 minutes.

Such a swim would have been impossible as little as 10 years ago because the water would have been frozen, said Mr. Pugh, who set the record for the coldest human swim off Antarctica at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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