- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 17, 2010


U.S. envoy urges leaders to talk

NAIROBI | The U.S. ambassador to Kenya said Tuesday that top U.S. government officials were closely monitoring a dispute between Kenya’s top two leaders as Cabinet ministers aligned with the prime minister said they will boycott Cabinet meetings.

A public dispute between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on how to tackle high-level corruption began last weekend and has intensified the last two days. The dispute also calls into question what powers each of them has under Kenya’s constitution.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger on Tuesday urged Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga to work together to resolve a dispute that could threaten the power-sharing deal.

On Sunday, Mr. Odinga said he had suspended two Cabinet ministers after audits into the works of their ministries uncovered high-level corruption. Hours later, Mr. Kibaki annulled those suspensions, arguing that Mr. Odinga had acted illegally.


Clinton catches ride with Petraeus

JIDDA | Even when you have your own plane, sometimes you get stuck in the airport. That’s what happened to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday, when mechanical trouble grounded her and her traveling party in Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately, if you are the top U.S. diplomat, you can hitch a pretty sweet ride. Gen. David Petraeus happened to be in the neighborhood, and he’s stopping to pick her up. Gen. Petraeus was in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Mrs. Clinton was a couple hours away in Jidda.

Mrs. Clinton told reporters that the government jet she uses has developed a fuel valve problem and could not be repaired quickly. She is leaving most of her traveling party behind.


Pope urges courage at sex-abuse summit

VATICAN CITY | Pope Benedict XVI told Irish bishops at a special summit meeting Tuesday to be courageous in confronting the pedophile priest scandal that has rocked that Catholic nation’s church, but took no action on victims’ demands the Vatican take some responsibility.

Specifically, bishops said the pope didn’t rule on whether to accept the resignations offered by several bishops for their role in decades of concealment or push for resignations from those resisting calls to step down.

The two-day, closed-door meeting bringing together the pope, top Vatican officials and 24 Irish bishops was called to restore the trust of Irish Catholics shaken by revelations of decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up.


Wartime archives to go on Internet

VATICAN CITY | The Vatican plans to make some of its World War II archives available on the Internet soon to calm down the controversy over Pope Pius XII’s actions during the Holocaust.

The Vatican’s newspaper announced the plan, saying it will “render service to the historic truth,” and officials said Tuesday the material will be accessible soon.

However a panel of Jewish and Catholic scholars who examined the 11 volumes of material a decade ago concluded that more information was required to decide whether Pius did everything he could to head off the Nazis’ efforts to exterminate European Jews.


EMI seeks buyer for Abbey Road studios

LONDON | The long and winding road of Beatles history has taken a new twist.

Cash-strapped music company EMI Group Ltd. is seeking a buyer for Abbey Road, the London studio where the Fab Four recorded some of their most famous songs, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

The person said talks had been going on for several months but a buyer had not yet been found. A spokesman for EMI refused to comment on the sale bid, which could raise tens of millions of dollars for the struggling label.

Analysts said the sale price would be far short of the $165 million EMI needs to survive, and would mean giving up one of its most high-profile assets — not just a recording studio, but a tourist attraction and shrine for Beatles fans.


Maoist rebels kill 24 police officers

KOLKATA | Maoist guerrillas struck with lightning speed, racing inside the security camp in cars and on motorcycles, spraying the overwhelmed police forces with rifle fire and sending a clear message to the Indian government — back off.

The attack Monday on the remote police base in West Bengal state killed at least 24 police officers and showed that the insurgents are a potent force despite a government crackdown.

The violence highlights the growing power of the shadowy rebel group, which is now present in 20 of the country’s 28 states and has an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 fighters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said India’s biggest internal threat comes from the rebels, who have tapped into the rural poor’s growing anger at being left out of the country’s economic renaissance.


Reporter’s mercy killing claim to be probed

LONDON | A veteran British TV reporter has claimed on the air that he used a pillow to smother a lover who was dying of AIDS, adding a startling contribution to the country’s debate on mercy killing.

The Nottinghamshire Police force said it would investigate Ray Gosling’s claim, made in a television documentary and repeated in media interviews Tuesday.

“I killed someone once. … He was a young chap. He’d been my lover, and he got AIDS,” Mr. Gosling, 70, told a British Broadcasting Corp. television program. “Maybe this is the time to share a secret that I have kept for quite a long time.”

Under British law, assisting a suicide is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but courts have become reluctant to convict people who help loved ones end their lives.

According to Mr. Gosling, he and the unidentified man had made a pact on what to do should the pain of the AIDS victim become intolerable and nothing more could be done. He said he smothered the man in his hospital bed to spare his suffering.

The BBC said it would cooperate fully with a police investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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