- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Freed terrorist called ‘dying man’

TRIPOLI | A Libyan official says the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has been hospitalized and television footage showed him breathing through an oxygen mask, signs that his illness from cancer may be worsening shortly after his early prison release sparked international outrage.

The Libyan Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Siala, said Monday that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was in the hospital and described him as a “dying man.”

Al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Scotland released him on compassionate grounds because doctors said he was dying of prostate cancer.

Britain’s Channel 4 television Sunday night showed al-Megrahi in a hospital bed propped up by pillows and wearing an oxygen mask.


Dalai Lama urges links with mainland

SHIAO LIN | The Dalai Lama said Taiwan should have “very close and unique links” with China but also enjoy democracy as he arrived at a devastated village Monday to pray for victims of Taiwan’s worst storm in 50 years.

Beijing has voiced its opposition to the Dalai Lama’s visit, saying it could harm relations between the mainland and Taiwan, which Beijing wants back after the two split six decades ago.

Despite that continuing demand, Taiwan and China have dramatically improved relations after decades of enmity, with President Ma Ying-jeou making closer business ties and cultural exchanges a signature issue of his 15-month-old administration.

The Tibetan spiritual leader insisted that his visit was humanitarian and he had no political agenda, but in his remarks to reporters he encouraged Taiwan to preserve its democracy.


Late leader’s son inherits Shi’ite party

BAGHDAD | The son of the late leader of Iraq’s largest Shi’ite political party was chosen Monday to take the reins of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a party official said.

The choice of Ammar al-Hakim to succeed his father, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, was widely expected, but questions have been raised about whether the relatively inexperienced son can hold the organization together during a politically sensitive time in Iraq.

The late Mr. al-Hakim has been a symbol to the Shi’ite political majority of the victory over Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime, although the party did poorly in many parts of the south in local elections earlier this year.


Climate delegates seek data sharing

GENEVA | The United Nations has opened discussions on setting up a global system for sharing information so the world can better adapt to climate change.

About 1,500 government officials, diplomats and scientists gathered Monday for the weeklong meeting in Geneva.

The meeting will not discuss the issue of cutting carbon-dioxide emissions. Those talks will begin later this year in Copenhagen.

Instead, the World Climate Conference seeks greater global surveillance of changing weather patterns and earlier warnings of hurricanes, droughts and floods.


Study: Prisoners fed better than patients

LONDON | British prison inmates are better fed than hospital patients, researchers said Monday.

The team from Bournemouth University in southern England found that although prisons spend less per person on food, inmates are more likely to get a nourishing meal than their fellow citizens who are not behind bars.

Professor John Edwards said about 40 percent of patients going into hospitals were already malnourished, but the situation rarely improved while there.

“If you are in prison then the diet you get is extremely good in terms of nutritional content. The food that is provided is actually better than most civilians have,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said most patients were satisfied with the food they received in the hospital.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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