- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 14, 2009

CANADA

Top court hears Gitmo detainee case

OTTAWA | The federal government argued before the Supreme Court on Friday that Canadian courts do not have the right to order authorities to seek the repatriation of the youngest detainee held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay.

Omar Khadr, who was born in Toronto, was 15 when he was captured after purportedly killing an American soldier with a grenade during a 2002 battle in Afghanistan. Authorities say his family has close links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network.

The Supreme Court hearing was held on the same day the U.S. Justice Department announced that Mr. Khadr, now 23, would be among five Guantanamo detainees whose cases would be heard by military commissions in the U.S.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has steadfastly refused to request the return of Mr. Khadr, the last Western detainee held at the prison camp in Cuba. He has said the U.S. legal process must be allowed to play itself out.

On Friday, the government argued that the Supreme Court should overturn a lower court ruling directing it to ask the U.S. to repatriate Mr. Khadr to Canada.

RUSSIA

2 killed in blasts at ammo depot

MOSCOW | Huge explosions and fire ripped through a Russian military arsenal for hours Friday, killing two firefighters and prompting the evacuation of thousands of civilians nearby, officials said.

Dozens of people feared trapped in the conflagration took refuge in a bomb shelter at the naval munitions facility in Ulyanovsk province and later emerged safe, officials said, dispelling worries of a high death toll.

The blasts and blaze erupted while ammunition was being destroyed at the facility, according to the Federal Security Service branch in the province, which is 430 miles east of Moscow.

AFGHANISTAN

9 NATO troops hurt in Kabul blast

KABUL | A suicide car bomber attempting to strike an international military convoy on the outskirts of Kabul wounded at least 24 people Friday, including nine NATO service members, on a road that has become a frequent militant target.

NATO said the bombing occurred on the Jalalabad road. The alliance said nine international service members and 10 civilian contractors, as well as several Afghans, were wounded in the attack, which occurred near a logistics base for U.S. forces.

BRITAIN

Navy watched as pirates took couple

LONDON | The crew of a Royal Navy vessel watched as a British couple was abducted by Somali pirates, unable to rescue them without endangering their lives, the British military said Friday.

As armed pirates boarded Paul and Rachel Chandler’s yacht on Oct. 23, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary replenishment tanker Wave Knight was within view, carrying light arms and a crew of 75 merchant seamen and 25 navy sailors in the Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Defense said.

But the crew could not intervene without putting the Chandlers at further risk, and could only watch as the pirates forced the couple off their yacht, the Lynn Rival, and onto an open skiff.

Authorities believe the Chandlers, who are in their 50s, are now being held on land in Somalia. Pirates have demanded $7 million for their release - ransom the British government says it will not pay.

France said Friday that its navy seized three boats off Somalia’s coast Thursday and detained 12 suspected pirates while seizing an arsenal including assault rifles and rocket launchers.

ARGENTINA

Judge to allow gay wedding

BUENOS AIRES | A judge has granted a homosexual couple permission to get married, setting a precedent that could pave the way for the Catholic country to become the first in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage.

This week’s ruling by Judge Gabriela Seijas in Buenos Aires, which became the region’s first city to approve civil unions between same-sex couples in 2002, may increase pressure on lawmakers to debate a gay marriage bill currently deadlocked in Congress.

The couple, Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello, said in a statement posted on a gay rights Web site that the decision would allow them to become “the first gay couple in Latin America to get the right to marry.”

Same-sex civil unions are allowed in Uruguay and Mexico City.

NORWAY

Munch stolen from dealer

OSLO | Thieves stole a valuable work of art by Edvard Munch from an Oslo art dealer in the latest of a string of art heists targeting work by the famous Norwegian expressionist, police said Friday.

One or more thieves stole “Historien” - or “History” - from Nyborgs Kunst in downtown Oslo after smashing one of the dealership’s windows with a rock, police said.

The hand-colored lithograph, printed in 1914, is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, dealership owner Pascal Nyborg said. It was the only item stolen in the heist late Thursday.

In 2004, gunmen stole Munch masterpieces “The Scream” and “Madonna” in a brazen midday raid on Oslo’s Munch Museum. A year later, a group of criminals lifted three Munch artworks from a ritzy hotel an hour south of Oslo.


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