- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2009

GUANTANAMO

Defense attorney ordered reinstated

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico | A military judge has refused to allow Pentagon officials to dismiss the lead attorney for the last Western prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, adding to turmoil for the Canadian's defense on Wednesday as a key deadline approaches.

Army Col. Patrick Parrish ruled late Tuesday that the chief defense counsel for the Guantanamo war-crimes trials lacked authority to dismiss Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler from the defense team of Omar Khadr, who was 15 when captured after purportedly killing an American soldier.

Col. Parrish said in a one-page ruling that only a judge could remove a lawyer under the rules of the military tribunals, which were suspended in January by President Obama pending a review of the system for prosecuting Guantanamo prisoners as war criminals.

The chief defense counsel, Air Force Col. Peter Masciola, said he removed Cmdr. Kuebler because the defense team was “dysfunctional,” and he asked the judge to reconsider his ruling. Cmdr. Kuebler said his firing stemmed from strategy disagreements with Col. Masciola.

BRITAIN

12 arrested in anti-terror raids

LONDON | Police arrested 12 men Wednesday in a series of anti-terrorist raids across northwest England.

Greater Manchester Police said the suspects were detained in raids across a wide area including the cities of Manchester and Liverpool. At least one of the raids was in the working-class Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, which has a large South Asian community. Witnesses said another raid was at Liverpool's John Moores University.

TIBET

Two sentenced to death for arson

BEIJING | A Chinese court Wednesday handed down death sentences to two people accused of starting deadly fires in last year's anti-government riots in Tibet, state media and a court officer said.

It was the first report of death sentences given out for the March 14, 2008, violence in the capital Lhasa that Chinese officials say killed 22 people.

The Lhasa Municipal Intermediate People's Court also gave suspended death sentences to two other people, and another was sentenced to life imprisonment, the official Xinhua news agency said. Suspended death sentences usually revert to life imprisonment after two years.

State media said 76 people have been sentenced and more than 950 detained after last year's protests.

NORTH KOREA

Massive rally hails rocket launch

SEOUL | Tens of thousands of North Koreans rallied Wednesday in Pyongyang to support Kim Jong-il as he embarks on his third term as leader and to celebrate a rocket launch that was criticized elsewhere as a violation of U.N. sanctions.

Mr. Kim was expected to attend a session of the North's rubber-stamp parliament Thursday and be re-elected as chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission in his first major public appearance since a reported stroke in August.

The 67-year-old Mr. Kim rules the impoverished yet nuclear-armed North in his capacity as chief of the commission, which oversees the country's 1.2 million-member military - one of the world's largest.

His re-election comes amid regional tension over the country's controversial rocket launch Sunday. North Korea claims it sent a satellite into space, but neighboring countries say nothing reached orbit and that the launch was really a test of its long-range missile technology.

MOLDOVA

Romania blamed for violent protests

CHISINAU | Moldova's president Wednesday accused neighboring Romania of backing violent anti-communist protesters who stormed his office and parliament, leaving dozens injured and some 200 arrested.

Vladimir Voronin's comments raised tensions between the two countries, which are linked through language and history but which have followed diverging paths since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Romania looked West and joined the European Union in 2007, while Moldova's communist government has stronger ties with Russia.

Riot police regained control of the parliament and presidential office early Wednesday, after they were ransacked by protesters who claimed last weekend's parliamentary elections were rigged.

Mr. Voronin's Communist Party, which has been in power since 2001, won about 50 percent of the vote in the elections Sunday.

DENMARK

Press group selling Muhammad cartoons

COPENHAGEN | A Danish press freedom group said Wednesday it is selling copies of a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad that caused outrage across the Muslim world.

Some 1,000 reproductions of a drawing depicting the prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban are being sold for $250 each, said Lars Hedegaard, chairman of the Danish Free Press Society.

Mr. Hedegaard said Danish artist Kurt Westergaard, who drew the cartoon in 2005, had given the society permission to produce and sell the copies.

FRANCE

Worker strike closes Eiffel Tower

PARIS | The Eiffel Tower was closed Wednesday after employees went on strike to demand better working conditions and security at one of the world's most visited tourist sites.

Ticket offices at the Paris landmark were shut and staff members were seen handing out leaflets in English, French and Spanish that said they were seeking improvements to visitor services and job security for the staff.

More than 500 people work in the Eiffel Tower, from welders and plumbers to security guards and cooks. The attraction receives about 18,000 visitors per day.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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