- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BRITAIN

Lawyers want Israel’s Barak jailed

LONDON | Lawyers have asked a British court to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is in the country to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other officials.

Tayab Ali, one of several lawyers representing a coalition of Palestinian groups, said papers his group filed in the City of Westminster Magistrates Court accuse the Israeli defense minister of violating the Geneva conventions and committing war crimes while directing the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip that began late last year.

A court clerk said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, no action had been taken on the request.

Israeli officials said that Mr. Barak, who is in Britain to speak to the Labor Friends of Israel group at the ruling Labor Party’s conference in the English seaside city of Brighton, would not change his plans or curtail his trip despite the attempt to have him arrested.

SOUTH AFRICA

Egg-size diamond among biggest ever

JOHANNESBURG | Petra Diamonds Ltd. says a diamond the size of a chicken egg has been found at South Africa’s Cullinan mine.

The diamond may be among the world’s top 20 high-quality gems. It was discovered Thursday at the mine northeast of Pretoria, South Africa.

Johan Dippenaar, the company’s chief executive said in a statement Tuesday that the 507.55-carat gem had “exceptional color and clarity.”

No value has been given yet for the diamond, which weighs just over 100 grams (less than a quarter pound).

The mine also produced the largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan, at 3,106 carats in the rough. That finished stone is set in Britain’s Imperial Scepter as part of the Crown Jewels.

BRITAIN

Brown battles to woo back voters

BRIGHTON | British Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed to restore voters’ faith in government and curb the excesses of the financial markets in a major speech Tuesday aimed at staving off an expected defeat at the next national election.

Mr. Brown, who must go to the polls by June, sketched out a manifesto for the looming election with a blizzard of populist ideas in an address to an annual rally of his governing Labor Party - including plans to allow Britons to recall lawmakers who breach rules.

Labor has trailed the main opposition Conservative Party in opinion polls for more than a year and appears certain to lose power for the first time since 1997 in an election likely to be held in May.

“We can build a new economy which tames the old excesses,” Mr. Brown told delegates gathered in the southern England seaside resort of Brighton.

IRAQ

Iranian dissidents remain in jail

KHALES | Iraqi authorities have refused to allow 36 Iranian dissidents seized in a July raid to return to their base despite a court ruling they must be released, a judicial official said on Tuesday.

The members of the People’s Mujahedeen, an exiled opposition group, were arrested by Iraqi police during a raid on Camp Ashraf, in Diyala province north of Baghdad, which left 11 camp residents dead.

“I released them; I said that they should go back to Camp Ashraf,” Judge Ali al-Timimi told Agence France-Presse, referring to a decision he delivered on Sunday.

The group was founded in 1965 in opposition to the shah of Iran. It has subsequently fought to oust the clerical regime that took power in the 1979 Islamic revolution, using Iraq as a base.

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