- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 18, 2009


U.S. asks Spain to take 4 inmates

MADRID | The United States has asked Spain to accept four prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison for terrorism suspects, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Wednesday.

He said Spain will respond when it has studied the legal consequences of taking them in and the circumstances of those four people.

Mr. Moratinos spoke after Spanish Interior, Justice and Foreign ministry officials met with the U.S. official in charge of closing the prison, Daniel Fried, who made the formal request that Spain accept four prisoners.

Reprieve, a British nongovernmental organization that represents many Guantanamo detainees, has said there are about five men from Tunisia and Algeria held at the U.S. facility who wish to go to Spain.


Leader strikes deal to avert election

TORONTO | Canada’s prime minister reached a deal Wednesday with one of three opposition parties allowing him to avoid early elections.

The opposition Liberals had been threatening to join two other opposition parties in toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority government on Friday if Mr. Harper didn’t unveil planned changes for unemployment insurance.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said a deal was reached that allows his party to appoint three members to a panel that would recommend changes to unemployment insurance.

The Liberals could still force a federal election in the fall. If all three opposition parties vote against the government, it would trigger an election. The three opposition parties hold 163 seats in Parliament, while the Conservatives have 143, and there is one independent.


Suspect held in cricketers attack

LAHORE | Pakistani police have made their first arrest in the attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team and claim the assailants planned to take the athletes hostage to demand the release of jailed comrades, a senior official said Wednesday.

Pervez Rathore, police chief in the city of Lahore, where the March 3 attack occurred, said the arrested suspect, Mohammad Zubair, was a member of the Punjabi Taliban, an offshoot of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, which is accused of having al Qaeda ties.

Gunmen sprayed the cricket team’s bus with bullets and fired a rocket and a grenade as it traveled to a match against Pakistan in Lahore. Seven players were wounded and six police killed before the bus sped off and eventually reached the safety of the stadium.


U.S. scientists win Asturias prizes

MADRID | Two American engineers who were instrumental in developing e-mail and mobile phones on Wednesday won one of Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias awards for revolutionizing the way people communicate.

The 2009 award for technical and scientific research went to Raymond Tomlinson and Martin Cooper, noting that their respective work in developing e-mail and cell-phone systems in the 1970s was “among the greatest technological innovations of our time.”

Mr. Cooper, 80, invented the first hand-held mobile telephone in 1973, while the 68-year-old Mr. Tomlinson’s programming and development of the “at” symbol revolutionized the system of electronic messages. The award includes a $70,000 cash stipend and a sculpture by artist Joan Miro.


Romanian Gypsies attacked in Belfast

BELFAST | Men armed with bricks and bottles forced more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their Belfast homes in a wave of attacks that sent them fleeing to the safety of a nearby church.

Community leaders in Belfast Wednesday condemned the attacks, while Romania’s government urged British authorities to take measures to avoid more racist violence.

The 20 Romanian families, including one with a 5-day-old baby, first fled to a Belfast church Tuesday after gangs hurling bricks and bottles attacked their homes in a working-class neighborhood, according to the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, a local community group. Local authorities moved them to the roomier community center Wednesday morning.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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