- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 18, 2009

IRAN

Newsweek reporter freed on bail

TEHRAN | Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari was freed on bail Saturday, four months after he was arrested following the country’s disputed presidential election, state-run media reported.

Mr. Maziar was released from Tehran’s Evin Prison after posting $300,000 bail, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Newsweek confirmed the release in a statement posted on its Web site.

GUINEA

West African bloc imposes embargo

ABUJA, Nigeria | Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, said Saturday they are imposing an arms embargo on Guinea after soldiers there fatally shot pro-democracy demonstrators. The leaders said they would try to stop Guinea’s military ruler from running in January’s presidential election.

Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara seized power in a December coup. He initially said he would not run in the January elections, but recently indicated he may have changed his mind.

A peaceful pro-democracy rally on Sept. 28 took a violent turn when Guinean presidential guard troops opened fire on tens of thousands of demonstrators. A Guinean human rights group says 157 people were killed. The government put the death toll at 57.

The International Criminal Court on Thursday announced a preliminary investigation into last month’s violence, and the United Nations has said it is establishing an international commission to look into the attack.

MEXICO

Hurricane Rick now Category 5

MEXICO CITY | Hurricane Rick has strengthened into a Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific with sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

Rick is a Category 5 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the Miami-based center said. Such a storm has sustained winds of more than 155 mph, and is capable of causing “catastrophic damage” to small buildings, according to the hurricane center.

The storms center is expected to remain offshore of the southern Pacific coast of Mexico this weekend as the hurricane moves parallel to the shore, the center said.

IRAQ

Oil deal OK’d with consortium

BAGHDAD | The Iraqi government has approved a deal with a consortium led by British giant BP PLC to develop a prized oil field in the south in a major step forward for the country’s oil industry.

BP, which was booted from the country in 1972 when Saddam Hussein nationalized the oil industry, and its partner CNPC of China were the only winners in Iraq’s first international oil auction in more than 30 years for development rights for the 17.8 billion barrel Rumaila field.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Saturday that the Cabinet approved the deal late Friday after it was signed initially on Oct. 8 by the Oil Ministry.

CANADA

Migrants seized off British Columbia

VANCOUVER | Canada has detained a ship thought to be trying to smuggle more than 70 migrants onto its Pacific coast, police said on Saturday.

A merchant vessel named Ocean Lady was intercepted by border officers and the Canadian military off Vancouver Island, and the people on board said they were attempting to reach Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The origin of the vessel and nationalities of the 76 people on the ship were not immediately known. The ship was escorted to a dock near Victoria, British Columbia, where the passengers and crew will be interviewed by immigration officials, police said.

BRAZIL

Rio gangs down police helicopter

RIO DE JANEIRO | A police helicopter flying over an intense shootout between rival drug gangs in a Rio slum was hit by gunfire and crashed in a fiery explosion on a football field.

Two officers were killed, while the pilot and another officer on board suffered burns but managed to escape, police said.

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