- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 21, 2009

IRAN

U.N. hits Tehran over crackdown

UNITED NATIONS | A key U.N. committee approved a resolution Friday urging Iran to halt the persecution of political opponents after the country’s disputed presidential election.

Citing arbitrary arrests, detentions and the disappearance of Iranians exercising their right to freedom of assembly and expression after the June 12 presidential election, the General Assembly’s human rights committee adopted the resolution by a vote of 74-48 with 59 abstentions.

Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, called the resolution “highly politically charged and motivated.”

State Department spokesman Robert Wood welcomed the result, calling it “the largest vote margin on such a resolution on Iran in the U.N. ever.”

AFGHANISTAN

Bomber kills 16; official escapes death

KABUL | A suicide bomber killed 16 people and wounded at least 23 others Friday in a busy city square in western Afghanistan, while near Kabul a powerful former warlord narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, officials said.

Lawmaker Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a former Northern Alliance leader who has been accused by Human Rights Watch of war crimes, was in a convoy with his bodyguards when a remote-controlled bomb hidden in an irrigation canal beside the road exploded in the Paghman district north of the Afghan capital, police said.

One car in the convoy was destroyed, and five of Mr. Sayyaf’s bodyguards were killed. Mr. Sayyaf was not injured.

In the suicide bombing, a bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up about 55 yards from the Farah provincial governor’s compound in a crowded square, said Gov. Rohul Amin.

NORWAY

Swine flu virus mutation seen

GENEVA | The World Health Organization said Friday that a mutation had been found in samples of the swine flu virus taken after the first two deaths from the pandemic in Norway.

“The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has informed WHO of a mutation detected in three H1N1 viruses,” the WHO said in a briefing note.

“The viruses were isolated from the first two fatal cases of pandemic influenza in the country and one patient with severe illness,” it said, although it added that no further instances were found in tests.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. to examine Afghan contracts

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia | The United States will do its part to reduce corruption in Afghanistan by examining its own contracts and projects, even as it is demanding the same from the Afghan government, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Friday.

He said the U.S. can exert the most leverage when it is signing the checks.

“The place for us to start is to deal with corruption that may be associated with contracts we’re letting or work that we’re having done and development projects that we are undertaking in partnership with others including with the Afghans,” Mr. Gates said.

SWITZERLAND

Atom-smasher restarts after hiatus

GENEVA | The world’s biggest atom-smasher, shut down after its inauguration in September 2008 amid technical faults, restarted on Friday, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research said.

“The first tests of injecting sub-atomic particles began around (10 a.m. EST),” CERN spokesman James Gillies told Agence France-Presse.

He said the injections lasted a fraction of a second, enough for “a half or even a complete circuit” of the Large Hadron Collider, built in a 17-mile-long tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.

ITALY

Anglican, Catholic pray for unity

ROME | Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and a top Catholic prelate prayed Friday for Christian unity amid tensions over the Vatican’s recent overture to Anglicans to join the Catholic fold.

Basing his homily on the Lord’s Prayer, the Church of England’s spiritual leader said it evoked a “spirit of communion” and led “to a prayer of forgiveness and reconciliation.”

Archbishop Williams was to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday just two weeks after the Vatican unveiled the new framework for the conversions, aimed at Anglicans who oppose the ordination of women as well as openly gay clergy.

ITALY

Fingers, tooth said to be Galileo’s found

ROME | A Florence museum says two fingers and a tooth thought to belong to Galileo Galilei have been found and will go on display next spring.

Three fingers and a tooth were taken from the astronomer’s body in 1737 and placed in a container.

Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Museum of the History of Science, said a private collector had bought a container at an auction containing two fingers and a tooth. The collector contacted Florence cultural officials and the parts and the container were found to match descriptions of the Galileo relics in historical documents.

Galileo, who died in 1642, was branded a heretic by the Vatican for saying the Earth revolved around the Sun. In the early 1990s, Pope John Paul II rehabilitated him.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide