- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Vice president named acting president

ABUJA | Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office as acting president Tuesday, more than two months after President Umaru Yar’Adua left for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

Parliament earlier recognized Mr. Jonathan as acting head of state in an effort to end uncertainty that has threatened to paralyze government business in Africa’s most populous nation and reignite violence in the main oil region.

The fact that there was no formal transfer of power had led to doubts over who was ruling the country and raised the prospect of the worst political crisis since the end of military rule more than a decade ago.


IAEA envoy fired over Iran vote

VIENNA, Austria | Malaysia has fired its ambassador to the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog for voting against a resolution rebuking Iran and he will be replaced as rotating head of the agency’s governing body later this week, officials said.

The rare removal of a senior serving diplomat on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors underlined the volatile politics and high stakes in policymaking involving Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Mohammed Arshad Manzoor Hussain, a 35-year diplomatic veteran, told Reuters news agency he had been fired by his government after being recalled to Kuala Lumpur following the Nov. 27 vote and several weeks of consultations.

The Malaysian foreign ministry said in December that Mr. Hussain disregarded orders by voting “no” to a resolution passed by a 25-3 margin with six abstentions to censure Iran for building a second uranium enrichment plant in secret.


Tymoshenko plans to challenge result

KIEV | Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko plans to legally challenge the results of the presidential runoff that opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych appears to have won, her campaign said Tuesday.

Mrs. Tymoshenko has canceled two planned appearances since the polls closed Sunday night. Her allies say she will not concede until appeals have run their course and recounts have taken place at a number of polling stations.

The official announcement of complete results is expected Wednesday. According to the election commission, Mr. Yanukovych is leading in Sunday’s vote by 3.5 percentage points with only 0.02 percent of precincts left to count.


U.N. envoy arrives to spur nuke talks

SEOUL | A senior U.N. envoy arrived in North Korea Tuesday, the world body’s highest-level visit to the reclusive state in nearly six years, amid an international push to get it back to the nuclear negotiating table.

North Korea’s top nuclear envoy, Kim Kye Gwan, flew to Beijing earlier in the day to discuss nuclear talks with Chinese officials.

The flurry of diplomacy heightened speculation that there could be a breakthrough to jump-start the stalled talks to rid Pyongyang of its nuclear programs.

U.N. political chief B. Lynn Pascoe was greeted by North Korean officials at an airport on the outskirts of the capital Pyongyang, according to footage broadcast by APTN in Pyongyang.


Terror conviction overturned

LONDON | The conviction of a man accused of wanting to become a suicide bomber was overturned Tuesday after a court in Scotland ruled that the trial judge did not properly instruct the jury.

Prosecutors indicated they will not seek new charges against Mohammed Atif Siddique, 24, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007.

Prosecutors had said during the four-week trial that the Scottish college student had scoured Islamic extremist Web sites for information about bomb-making and other tactics. He was reported to have told other students he intended to become a suicide bomber.

Senior judges at Scotland’s Criminal Court of Appeal described the trial judge’s instruction as a miscarriage of justice. The appeals court found the trial judge had not properly explained the provisions of Britain’s anti-terrorism laws when instructing the jury about how to assess whether Siddique was guilty of the main charge against him.

Siddique’s convictions on two lesser terrorism charges were not affected by the appeal court judgment and he has served his sentence for them.

Siddique, from the town of Clackmannanshire in central Scotland, had stored and posted guides to bomb-making, guns and explosives on a network of Web sites, prosecutors said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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