- - Wednesday, December 8, 2010


U.N.: Hariri indictments to remain sealed

BEIRUT | A spokesman for the U.N. tribunal investigating the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister said Wednesday it will be weeks or even several months before the details of expected indictments are made public.

The Netherlands-based tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of Rafik Hariri in a massive Beirut truck bombing is expected to issue its first indictments as soon as this month.

But a court spokesman, Crispin Thorold, said the contents will remain confidential until confirmed by the pretrial judge, which could take “at least six to 10 weeks” from the time the indictments are submitted.

The court has kept silent on possible suspects, but several foreign media reports have said the court has evidence that members of Hezbollah, the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite militant group, were behind the assassination. That is raising fears of more violence in the fractured country.


Summit delegates debate climate fund

CANCUN | Should airline passengers pay a small tax to help out? How about global money dealers? Or perhaps governments should take what they spend subsidizing gasoline prices and put it toward the climate cause.

Delegates to the U.N. climate conference hope to agree in its final days on setting up a new “green fund” to help poorer countries grapple with global warming. Then the real arguments will begin — over where the cash will come from.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stepped into the middle of the debate earlier this year by enlisting a high-level group of international political and financial leaders to offer advice. On Wednesday, the U.N. chief presented their ideas to the conference, including airline and foreign-exchange levies, as he led a discussion with key figures on the panel.


Palestinians doubt U.S. can forge peace deal

JERUSALEM | A top Palestinian official on Wednesday questioned Washington’s ability to forge Middle East peace after a new breakdown in American attempts to revive negotiations.

The U.S. failure to persuade Israel to renew a limited freeze on construction in West Bank Jewish settlements, announced late Tuesday, was the latest setback for the Obama administration in its quest to broker a peace deal by September. That goal, a top priority of the president, appears increasingly in doubt.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians are assessing their options before responding to the U.S. announcement. While accusing the Israelis of being intransigent, he also voiced disappointment with the Americans.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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