- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2008


Accord reached on cluster-bomb ban

DUBLIN - Diplomats say more than 100 nations yesterday reached agreement on a treaty that would ban current designs of cluster bombs. The treaty also would require the destruction of stockpiles within eight years.

The breakthrough followed agreement on two key sticking points after 10 days of Dublin negotiations. However, the discussions in Ireland did not involve the biggest makers and users of cluster bombs: the United States, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan.

Cluster munitions open in midair and scatter as many as several hundred “bomblets” over a wide area. They often fail to explode, creating virtual minefields that can kill or injure anyone who finds them later - often, curious children.


President reappoints prime minister

BEIRUT - Lebanon’s new president yesterday asked outgoing Prime Minister Fuad Siniora to form a new Cabinet despite reservations by the Hezbollah-led opposition.

President Michel Suleiman’s appointment of Mr. Siniora is practically assured, after a decision late Tuesday by the parliamentary majority to back him.

The Western-leaning parliamentary majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition agreed to form a national-unity government under a deal that resolved a prolonged political crisis that pushed Lebanon to the brink of a new civil war.


22 countries face food crisis

ROME - Twenty-two nations are particularly threatened by the global food crisis that has seen soaring prices increase hunger, leading to protests and riots in some countries, the United Nations said yesterday.

A report prepared by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization for a summit in Rome next week said the countries are vulnerable because they suffer from chronic hunger and are forced to import food and fuel. The report said Eritrea, Niger, Comoros, Haiti and Liberia are particularly affected.


Serial killer, wife get life sentences

CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES - Self-confessed killer and rapist Michel Fourniret and his wife, Monique Olivier, were sentenced to life in prison yesterday in one of France’s grimmest serial-murder cases.

The couple showed no reaction after Fourniret, dubbed the “Ogre of the Ardennes” by the news media, was found guilty in a packed courtroom of killing seven women and girls between ages 12 and 22 after raping or attempting to rape them.

Fourniret, 66, was arrested in 2003 after a 13-year-old girl escaped from his van and called the police.


Goodall urges ban on animal testing

BRUSSELS - World-famous primate expert Jane Goodall and other scientists appealed to European Union officials yesterday to do more to end the testing on animals for science and medical research.

Ms. Goodall presented a petition bearing 150,000 names to lawmakers at the European Parliament. She joined with animal rights groups to pressure European Union governments to revise EU rules from 1986 by expanding a ban on the use of animals in testing.

The governments of the European Union’s 27 member countries and industries in those countries must meet a 2009 deadline imposed by EU law.


New charges filed against U.S. lawyer

MINSK - A U.S. lawyer who is an expert on money laundering in the former Soviet Union faces charges of drug smuggling more than two months after his arrest by Belarusian security agents, an official said yesterday.

The case of Emanuel Zeltser - a Russian-born lawyer whose clients include a Georgian billionaire and a Kremlin-connected official - has prompted protests from the United States, which says his health is failing.

The 54-year-old was detained March 12 as he arrived in Belarus. He was initially charged with using false documents. A spokesman for the Belarusian KGB said investigators also determined that the medications confiscated from Mr. Zeltser could not be used for treating his diabetes, as he and his attorney have maintained.


Police outgunned in drug fight

CULIACAN - Mexico’s federal police need more-powerful weapons to battle heavily armed drug cartels, a senior police official said yesterday.

Gen. Rodolfo Cruz said seven federal officers killed Tuesday in a shootout in Culiacan were outgunned by members of the Sinaloa cartel.

Gen. Cruz told reporters the federal government was sending 200 more officers to the state to join the 749 already stationed there. But he said agents really need high-caliber weapons to face traffickers armed with armor-piercing bullets and AK-47s.

Federal police currently carry pistols, Gen. Cruz said.


War-crime sentences stiffened by court

FREETOWN - A U.N.-backed war-crimes court yesterday more than doubled the prison terms for two ex-militia leaders convicted of overseeing hundreds of killings and mutilations during Sierra Leone’s 11-year war.

An earlier ruling sentencing Moinina Fofana to six years and Allieu Kondewa’s sentence to eight years was far too light, the judges ruled. Fofana’s term was increased to 15 years, Kondewa’s to 20.

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