- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BRITAIN

Airline terrorist gets 40 years

LONDON | A British judge on Monday sentenced the ringleader of a plot to bring down trans-Atlantic planes with liquid explosives to at least 40 years in prison and three fellow British Muslims to long prison sentences.

The sentences for the planned suicide bombings were among the longest ever handed out by a British court in a terrorism case.

Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, was given a minimum sentence of 40 years for plotting the biggest terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001. Assad Sarwar, 29, was ordered to serve at least 36 years in prison and Tanvir Hussain, 28, was sentenced at least 32 years.

A fourth man, Umar Islam, 31, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and received a minimum of 22 years.

The men had planned to smuggle explosives disguised as soft drinks aboard the planes and detonate them while flying. Prosecutors said they were likely just days away from mounting their suicide attacks when they were arrested in August 2006.

NORWAY

Leftist government set to retain power

OSLO | Norway’s left-leaning government appeared to have narrowly won re-election Monday after using oil money to shield the Nordic welfare state from the global recession, near-complete results showed.

If the results are confirmed, it would be the first time a government in Norway has survived an election in 16 years.

An official projection with 99 percent of votes counted showed Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor-led coalition winning 86 seats to keep a slim majority in the 169-seat parliament. Final results were expected Tuesday.

The results indicated that Norway would continue to buck a trend that has seen center-right blocs take power in its Nordic neighbors Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

SWITZERLAND

U.S. a rookie at rights council

GENEVA | The United States attended its first formal meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday, saying it will try to promote dialogue at a body it once avoided and heavily criticized.

The United States was elected in June to the 47-nation council, which was criticized by the George W. Bush administration for primarily denouncing Israel while ignoring abuses elsewhere.

“We will strive for discussions that are thoughtful, focused and open to all viewpoints and perspectives,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer told the council.

The decision in May to seek a seat on the Geneva-based body after three years of staying on the sidelines was a major shift in U.S. policy in line with President Obama’s stated aim to cooperate with the United Nations.

INDONESIA

Province to allow stoning for adulterers

BANDA ACEH | Lawmakers in the devoutly Muslim province of Aceh voted unanimously that adulterers can be sentenced to death by stoning, just months after voters overwhelmingly chose to throw hard-line Islamic parties out of power.

With only weeks to go before a new government led by a moderate party takes over in Aceh, hard-liners still in control of the regional parliament pushed through legislation Monday to impose steep punishments for adultery and homosexuality.

IRAQ

Shoe-thrower release delayed

BAGHDAD | The expected release Monday of the Iraqi television reporter jailed for throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush was postponed a day, two of his brothers said, citing paperwork delays.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi’s family had gathered shortly after dawn outside an Iraqi army base in central Baghdad.

After waiting more than five hours, his brother Dargham said he had received a phone call from Mr. al-Zeidi telling him he would not be released until Tuesday because of the delays.

Dargham and Uday, Mr. al-Zeidi’s other brother, said they would stage a sit-in outside the base Tuesday until he was released, and they called for other Iraqis to join them.

Mr. al-Zeidi’s act of protest in December made the little-known TV reporter a hero across the Arab and Muslim worlds, where Mr. Bush is extremely unpopular.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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