- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2009


Nine items added to chemical treaty

GENEVA | A U.N.-sponsored treaty to combat dangerous chemicals has been expanded to include nine more substances that are used in pesticides, electronics and other products, U.N. officials said Saturday.

The additions include one called PFOS, worth billions of dollars in a wide range of uses from making semiconductor chips to fighting fires. Another is lindane, a pesticide widely used in combating head lice.

The chemicals accumulate in the environment up through the food chain and stay in people’s bodies, said Donald Cooper, executive secretary to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POPs. He said they travel long distances in the air.

The 2004 treaty, which originally included 12 chemicals such as the widely banned pesticides DDT and chlordane, aims to protect the environment and people’s health from dangerous chemicals that last a long time in the atmosphere, soil or water, and ultimately phase them out.


U.S. forces kill boy after grenade attack

BAGHDAD | The U.S. military said Saturday its troops fatally shot a 12-year-old Iraqi boy suspected of throwing a grenade at them, and said it believed insurgents were paying children to help them.

Iraqi police said, however, that the boy, whom they identified as Omar Moussa Salih, had not been involved in the grenade-throwing.

U.S. and Iraqi forces came under grenade attack Thursday in the western part of Mosul, said Maj. Derrick Cheng, a U.S. spokesman in northern Iraq. U.S. forces responded by firing at several people, killing the boy. He was found with 10,000 Iraqi dinars, or around $8.50, in his hand.

Iraqi police in Mosul said the boy, who had sold candy in the street, was shot more than once in the head. His 8-year-old brother ran away when Omar was shot, police said. Maj. Cheng said another boy was briefly detained but released.


Police arrest 3 of British TV crew

COLOMBO | Sri Lankan police arrested three journalists for London-based Channel 4 television news Saturday on charges of tarnishing the image of government security forces, authorities said.

Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said Nick Paton-Walsh, the channel’s Asian correspondent, producer Bessie Du and cameraman Matt Jasper were arrested in the eastern city of Trincomalee on Saturday. The Channel 4 crew had been covering fierce fighting between government forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers.

Mr. Walsh, speaking to the Associated Press by telephone shortly after the arrest, said he believed the arrests were connected to his recent report on conditions for war refugees and purported sexual abuse in camps for those who fled the northern war zone.


Somali pirates free British ship

SOFIA | Somali pirates on Saturday freed a British-owned ship that was captured more than a month ago with 16 Bulgarians among its crew members on board after its Italian operator paid a ransom, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said.

The 32,000-ton bulk carrier Malaspina Castle was hijacked on April 6. Bulgarian government officials have said the ship had a total of 24 crew members, including several Russians, Ukrainians and Filipinos.


Cuban official dismisses Obama

KINGSTON, Ontario | Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon dismissed President Obama’s recent overtures to Cuba and said Saturday for the first time that the new U.S. administration’s stance is “the continuation of an illegal, unjustifiable and failed policy.”

Mr. Obama authorized unlimited travel and money transfers for Americans with relatives in Cuba. But his administration has said it would like Cuba to respond by making small political and social changes to its single-party communist system.

“In other words, Cuba must change and behave in accordance with Washington’s wishes,” Mr. Alarcon said at the close of a Cuban academic conference in Canada. “That attitude is not only the continuation of an illegal, unjustifiable and failed policy, it is also the consequence of a profound misconception, a false perception of itself that lies as the foundation of the U.S. role in the world.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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