- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2009

AFGHANISTAN

President’s brother denies CIA pay

KABUL | Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president, on Wednesday denied reports that he has received regular payments from the CIA for much of the past eight years.

The New York Times, citing current and former U.S. officials, reported Tuesday that the CIA pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the CIA’s direction in and around Kandahar.

Calling the report “ridiculous,” Mr. Karzai told the Associated Press: “I work with the Americans, the Canadians, the British, anyone who asks for my help. They [CIA] do their own recruitment. I have no idea where they get their recruits.”



The CIA’s ties to Mr. Karzai, who is a suspected player in the country’s illegal opium trade, have created deep divisions within the Obama administration, the Times said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs refused to confirm, comment on or directly pass judgment on Mr. Karzai’s relationship with the CIA, but suggested the Obama administration would not endorse that sort of arrangement. CIA spokesman George Little declined to comment on the newspaper report.

CUBA

U.N. condemns U.S. embargo

UNITED NATIONS | The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly condemned the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, an annual ritual that highlights global opposition to the policy.

This year’s vote was 187-3 in opposition to the embargo, up from 185-3 last year, with only Israel and the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau supporting the United States. Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained both years.

It was the 18th year in a row that the General Assembly has taken up the symbolic measure, with Washington steadily losing what little support it once had.

GERMANY

Merkel sworn in as chancellor

BERLIN | Angela Merkel was sworn in Wednesday for a second term as German chancellor and her new center-right government took up the task of tackling the country’s tough economic situation a month after national elections.

Mrs. Merkel, 55, will serve as chancellor of a ruling coalition made up of her Christian Democratic Party, its Bavaria-only sister party the Christian Social Union, and the pro-business Free Democrats.

She was elected through a vote of 323 in favor out of a possible 612. But nine members of coalition parties voted against her, leading some to question the government’s solidity hours after she and her 15 ministers were sworn in.

GERMANY

Nazi hit man, 88, goes on trial

AACHEN | Confessed Nazi hit man Heinrich Boere went on trial Wednesday in the western city of Aachen, charged with the 1944 murders of three Dutch civilians in reprisal for partisan attacks.

The 88-year-old was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair and had a doctor by his side as the proceedings began, but looked alert and attentive as he answered the presiding judge’s questions with simple one-word responses.

The resident of Eschweiler, on the outskirts of Aachen, faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison, if convicted of the killings of a bicycle-shop owner, a pharmacist and another civilian while part of an SS death squad code-named “Silbertanne,” or “Silver Pine.”

The son of a Dutch man and German woman, Boere was 18 when he joined the SS at the end of 1940, only months after German forces had overrun his hometown of Maastricht and the rest of the Netherlands.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Sweden criticized for war-criminal release

SARAJEVO | Bosnia’s top official canceled a diplomatic visit to Sweden on Wednesday, angry that the Swedish government chose to grant Bosnian Serb war criminal Biljana Plavsic an early release from jail.

Plavsic, the former Bosnian Serb president, was freed Tuesday from a Swedish prison after serving two-thirds of an 11-year jail term for crimes against humanity during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.

President Zeljko Komsic said he will not go to Stockholm on a four-day visit starting Nov. 4 because although Swedish law offers the possibility of early release, the government had to actively make that choice.

Plavsic, 79, is the only woman among the 161 people indicted by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia.

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