- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 3, 2009

HONDURAS

Lawmakers debate fate of ex-president

TEGUCIGALPA | Honduran lawmakers begin debating ousted President Manuel Zelaya’s future Wednesday under pressure from much of the region to reinstate him or face more isolation, despite a presidential election they hoped would end the crisis.

It’s unlikely to make a difference. The interim administration has already resisted months of diplomatic arm-twisting, and has long predicted Sunday’s election would weaken demands for Mr. Zelaya’s return. Mr. Zelaya himself says he won’t return now even if asked.

Still, many Latin American governments warn they will not restore ties with the incoming administration of Porfirio Lobo unless Mr. Zelaya is allowed to finish his term, which ends Jan. 27.

IRAN

Authorities free British sailors TEHRAN | Iran freed five British sailors detained last week when their racing yacht drifted accidentally into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. Britain said it was delighted with Wednesday’s release and praised Tehran’s handling of the incident.

The men arrived on shore in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, flashing smiles, waving at the cameras and looking relaxed.

The 60-foot yacht was in the Persian Gulf on its way from Bahrain to Dubai on Nov. 25 for the start of its first offshore race when it ran into a problem with its propeller, said Andrew Pindar, whose Team Pindar owns the yacht. It drifted into Iranian waters and was seized by the elite Revolutionary Guard’s navy

HUNGARY

Thieves return billionaire’s coffin

BUDAPEST | A coffin containing the body of an Austrian billionaire has been returned to his family, more than a year after it was stolen from a graveyard by thieves who blackmailed the relatives for $150,000, police said Wednesday.

It also emerged that criminals from Hungary and Romania were involved in the crime, and that private investigators and security companies had been involved in the search for the coffin without telling police.

The remains of Austrian billionaire Friedrich Karl Flick were stolen from a cemetery in Velden, southern Austria, in November 2008.

ISRAEL

Jailed spy wants Palestinians dead

JERUSALEM | An American convicted of spying for Israel is reportedly proposing that Israel kill Hamas prisoners rather than swap them for a captive Israeli soldier.

The Jerusalem Post daily reports that Jonathan Pollard says Israel should kill one Hamas prisoner every day until the militant group frees Sgt. Gilad Schalit

Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. for his 1985 spy conviction, also says he’d refuse to be exchanged for “terrorists.”

ARGENTINA

Civil debate eludes lawmakers

BUENOS AIRES | Argentine lawmakers pushed, punched and threw chairs at each other during a raucous session to choose the president of a northern province’s lower house.

At least 10 legislators were slightly injured during the chaotic scuffle in Chaco, 620 miles north of the capital, Buenos Aires.

Chaco Gov. Jorge Capitanich said he regrets the violence, which broke out when officials from the governing party tried to stop opposition lawmakers from entering a session of the legislature.

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