- - Wednesday, November 24, 2010


U.S. warns of harm from WikiLeaks release

The Obama administration said Wednesday it has alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with friends and allies.

Officials said the documents may contain everything from accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians to disclosures of activities that could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.

U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that WikiLeaks may release these documents in the next few days.

“These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”


Energy deal boosts Cuba in China’s future

HAVANA | China is taking another great leap forward in its Latin American energy plans, raising Cuba’s energy importance in the process, with a deal to lead a $6 billion refinery expansion project on the communist island, experts said this week.

The project, to be funded mostly by China’s Eximbank, is the latest of several significant moves in the region for the Asian power as it continues to expand its global influence.

For Cuba, the refurbishing of its antiquated refinery in the coastal city of Cienfuegos will provide an outlet for oil it hopes to tap soon in the Gulf of Mexico, while also laying the groundwork for the island to possibly become a key oil transhipment point for the Caribbean basin.

A unit of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp expects to begin work in early 2011 on the project that will more than double the refinery’s capacity to 150,000 barrels daily and include construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal.


Chinese dissent ploy shrinks Nobel turnout

OSLO | Only one of some 140 Chinese activists invited by the wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has confirmed he will attend the prize ceremony in Oslo, an organizer of the guest list said Wednesday.

Others have been stopped from leaving China or placed under tight surveillance amid a crackdown on dissenters since the prize announcement, several activists told the Associated Press.

Nobel officials said last week that none of Liu’s relatives were expected to travel to Oslo to collect the prize on Liu’s behalf. But his wife, Liu Xia, had invited scores of activists and luminaries to attend the Dec. 10 ceremony in an open letter posted online.


Prosecutor sets new election probe

KABUL | Afghanistan’s top prosecutor announced a new investigation Wednesday into allegations of ballot manipulation, potentially dealing another setback to a fraud-marred Parliamentary election just as many had hoped a declaration of final results would allow the country to move on.

The Afghan election commission, meanwhile, certified tallies from 33 of 34 provinces but failed to deliver on a promise to provide complete results more than two months after the Sept. 18 poll.

The election panel said it had not decided what to do about the eastern province of Ghazni, where a host of problems clouded the ballot even after substantial investigations. Other than the delay in the Ghazni results, the winners were unchanged since fraud investigators announced a number of disqualified candidates earlier this week.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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