- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 5, 2009


Leader hurt in attack, flown to Morocco

CONAKRY | Guinea junta chief Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara was flown to Morocco Friday for hospital treatment after being wounded in a gun attack by a former military aide, Moroccan authorities said.

Guinea’s leadership played down the extent of Capt. Camara’s injuries and denied that his departure left a power vacuum in the unstable west African nation. His powerful deputy, Sekouba Konate, returned to the capital, Conakry, from a trip abroad.

But Capt. Camara’s evacuation for treatment in Morocco’s main military hospital raised questions about his health and political future.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, whose plane was used to evacuate Capt. Camara to Morocco, said in Ouagadougou that Capt. Camara “is in a difficult but not desperate situation,” and that he might undergo surgery for bullet wounds.


Fire kills 20 in karaoke bar

JAKARTA | A least 20 people died and two were injured when fire engulfed a third-floor karaoke bar in one of Indonesia’s largest cities Friday, police said, adding that the death toll could rise.

Firefighters contained the blaze in the multistory building in Medan on Sumatra island and extinguished it within hours. The bar had been filled with hundreds of patrons, local media reported. Some witnesses told local television that the blaze was caused by an electrical short circuit.


Polanski begins house arrest

GSTAAD | Roman Polanski’s life took a dramatic turn for the better Friday as he traded a Swiss jail for house arrest surrounded by family in his luxury Alpine chalet.

Mr. Polanski, 76, cannot leave the three-story house and its garden while Swiss authorities decide whether to send him to Los Angeles to face sentencing in a 32-year-old sex case.

He was wearing an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet Friday when he arrived at the chalet in a police convoy. If Mr. Polanski breaks the conditions of his bail, the Swiss government will confiscate the $4.5 million he deposited.


U.N. to probe climate e-mail leak

LONDON | The United Nations will conduct its own investigation into e-mails leaked from a leading British climate science center in addition to the probe by the University of East Anglia, a senior U.N. climate official said in comments broadcast Friday.

E-mails stolen from the climate unit at the university appeared to show some of world’s leading scientists discussing ways to shield data from public scrutiny and suppress others’ work. Those who deny the influence of man-made climate change have seized on the correspondence to argue that scientists have been conspiring to hide evidence on the issue of global warming.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, said the issue raised by the e-mails was serious and said “we will look into it in detail.”


Migration talks pushed to February

HAVANA | Highly anticipated immigration talks between Cuba and the United States have been pushed back because of scheduling concerns that each side blames on the other, another hint that reconciliation may be more difficult than it once appeared.

A State Department official told the Associated Press Friday that both sides intend to continue holding periodic negotiations on immigration issues twice a year, but that bureaucratic concerns derailed talks that had been scheduled for early December in Havana.

“At the Cuban government’s request, the talks have been rescheduled for February,” he said. A senior Cuban official confirmed that the negotiations had been delayed, but said it was at Washington’s bidding - not Cuba’s.


Military ends UFO hot line

LONDON | The truth - and the UFOs - may be out there, but nobody in the British military is listening anymore.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense has quietly shut down its UFO hot line as a cost-cutting measure and will no longer investigate any sightings. Veterans of such investigations, which are more worthy of the TV series “The X-Files,” said work will end on one of the biggest mysteries in human history.

No longer will Britons who think they’ve seen flying saucers be able to enlist the services of the royal armed forces.

This week’s closing of the ministry’s hot line and its e-mail account, as well as its statement that it “will no longer respond to reported UFO sightings or investigate them,” have angered many Britons who believe such research is vital.

The hot line has been operating, on and off, since 1959.

A Ministry of Defense spokesman said closing the UFO inquiry unit would save about $73,000 a year and would not add to national security threats.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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