Friday, August 14, 2009


Diplomat keeps job after reprimand

JERUSALEM | An Israeli diplomat will keep his job after being reprimanded for a memo he wrote warning that government policy on settlements was harming the country’s ties with the United States, a foreign ministry official said Thursday.

Boston Consul General Nadav Tamir had been recalled for consultations after the memo criticizing policy on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank was leaked to Israeli media.

The ministry’s director-general Yossi Gal “made it clear” to Mr. Tamir that he should not have distributed the memo as widely as he did within the ministry, and Mr. Tamir expressed regret for having done so, the source said.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted by his spokesman as saying that “anyone who disagrees with, and is uncomfortable with, government policies can resign.”


Diplomat’s killers spared death penalty

KHARTOUM | An appeals court commuted the death sentences for four men convicted of killing an American diplomat and his Sudanese driver after the driver’s family decided to pardon the murderers, a news agency reported Thursday.

Sudanese law stipulates that if a victim’s family chooses to pardon the murderer, the person cannot be sentenced to death and the prison term cannot exceed 10 years. The case will be referred back to the initial court for a new sentence, the Sudan Media Center said.

The three appeals court judges delivered their verdict Wednesday without considering the wishes of the family of diplomat, John Granville, who was killed by gunmen along with his driver as he was returning from a New Year’s party in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, said the news agency, which has close links to the Sudanese government.

Mr. Granville, 33, of Buffalo, N.Y., worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development.


FARC denies arms were from Venezuela

BOGOTA | The top guerrilla leader in Colombia denied in comments published Thursday that his organization received anti-tank weapons from Venezuela or funded the electoral ambitions of Ecuador’s president.

Alfonso Cano, commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known as FARC, accused Colombian President Alvaro Uribe of “media terrorism for insinuating that Venezuela’s government provided rocket launchers we captured a long time ago in a military battle on the border.”

His comments were published by Colombian newsmagazine Cambio.

Sweden has confirmed that it sold the weapons to Venezuela in 1988. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denies his government gave them to FARC and accuses Mr. Uribe of acting irresponsibly by suggesting Venezuela provided material support to the rebels.


Castro’s health good, N.Y. pastor says

HAVANA | The founder of a New York-based church group that opposes the U.S. embargo of Cuba said Thursday that former Cuban President Fidel Castro looked strong and animated during a July 31 meeting.

The Rev. Lucius Walker Jr. of Pastors for Peace told the Associated Press that he met for several hours with Mr. Castro at a Havana-area home while he was in Cuba to organize a humanitarian aid shipment.

“He looked good, like he had gained weight, was sharp and articulate,” Mr. Walker said by telephone from New York. “He showed tremendous signs of recovery from a very serious illness.”

Mr. Castro spent his 83rd birthday Thursday out of the public eye but wrote an essay on the global economic crisis, climate change and immigration in which he criticized President Obama.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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