- - Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Condemned woman won’t go to Brazil

TEHRAN | Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said a woman condemned to be stoned to death would not be sent to Brazil, despite Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s offer to grant her asylum.

The sentence imposed on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for adultery has caused an international outcry and become a surprise campaign issue in Brazil’s October presidential elections.

Mr. Lula da Silva, who has close relations with Mr. Ahmadinejad, offered asylum to the woman this month, but the proposal that was declined by the Foreign Ministry, whose spokesman said the Brazilian leader had “not been provided with enough information” on the issue.

In an interview on Iran’s state-run English-language Press TV, Mr. Ahmadinejad said, “I think there is no need to create some trouble for President Lula and to take her to Brazil.”


Ex-soldier: Photo with Arabs was thoughtless

JERUSALEM | A former Israeli soldier who posted photos on Facebook of herself in uniform smiling beside bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners says her actions were thoughtless.

Eden Aberjil told Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday that she did not think through her decision to post the photos. But she says she doesn’t understand why they caused outrage.

She says she removed the photos after realizing they offended many viewers.

The photos, taken in 2008, show her posing cheerfully with Palestinian detainees. They were accompanied by an exchange with a friend that included jokes and sexual innuendoes.

The army has denounced the photos, and Palestinians said they were humiliating.


Array of new weapons to be unveiled

TEHRAN | Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Tuesday that Iran next week will unveil an array of weapons, including missiles, speedboats and a long-range drone, the ISNA news agency reported.

Two missiles, Qiam (Rising) and the third-generation Fateh 110 (Conqueror) will be tested next week during Iran’s annual government week, which starts Saturday, Mr. Vahidi said.

Iran also will unveil the long-range drone, Karar, he said, using the nickname of revered Shiite Imam Ali.


Coptic pope warns about phone confessions

CAIRO | The head of Egypt’s Coptic church has urged his congregation to refrain from confessing their sins over the phone, which could be tapped by the security services, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

“Beware not to admit your sins over the telephone because all phone conversations are recorded by the state security services,” Pope Shenouda III was quoted as saying by the independent Al-Masri Al-Yawm paper.

“Otherwise you will have to go seek absolution in prison, from the police, rather than from your local priest,” the cleric told worshippers during a sermon in Alexandria on Sunday, according to the report.

According to the paper, Shenouda III was referring to Copts who are traveling abroad or have relocated to new addresses and often use the telephone to maintain contact with their local parish priest.


Kidnapped U.N. officers released in Darfur

AMMAN | Kidnappers who abducted two Jordanian officers from the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) in Darfur have released them, Information Minister Ali Ayed said Tuesday.

“First Lt. Ahmad Qeisi and 1st Lt. Nabil Kilani have been released. They are currently at the Jordanian mission in Darfur and in good health,” Mr. Ayed said in a statement run by the state-run Petra news agency.

Lts. Qeisi and Kilani, who are participating in the U.N. mission in Darfur, were seized on Saturday by armed men in Nyala, capital of South Darfur state.


Fighter jet crashes near nuclear plant

TEHRAN | An Iranian fighter jet crashed Tuesday in southern Iran near the country’s nuclear power plant, which is to start up over the weekend, a semiofficial news agency reported. The two pilots ejected safely.

The Fars agency quoted local government official Gholam Reza Keshtkar as saying one of the Iranian air force’s F-4 planes crashed about four miles north of the city of Bushehr. The city is 745 miles south of the capital, Tehran.

Another local official, Mohammad Hasan Shanbadi, said technical failure was the cause of the crash but did not elaborate. He said the plane crashed in the desert, close to an industrial center.

The Bushehr nuclear power plant — Iran’s first such facility — is expected to start fueling up this weekend.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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