- - Sunday, October 31, 2010


Canadian detainee gets 8-year prison term

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE | A U.S. war-crimes tribunal Sunday sentenced Canadian captive Omar Khadr to 40 years in prison for charges that include murdering an American soldier in battle, but his plea agreement capped his sentence at eight years.

That means the Toronto native will serve eight more years, in addition to the eight he already has served at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Canadian was 15 when captured in Afghanistan in 2002 and is now 24. He is the first person since World War II to be prosecuted in a war-crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.

The plea deal calls for him to be sent home to Canada after one more year at Guantanamo, although “the decision on that is solely up to the Canadian government,” the judge said.

Diplomatic notes exchanged between Washington and Ottawa gave assurances that would happen, Khadr’s attorneys have said.


Zuma fires 7 ministers charged with aiding poor

PRETORIA | South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday fired seven ministers in what he said was a bid to better meet the needs of the country’s poorer residents.

“We are guided by the mission of our government, which is to improve the quality of life of all South Africans, especially the poor, working with all our people,” Mr. Zuma told reporters in Pretoria.

Among those axed was communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda, a senior official in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) who previously served as the head of the South African National Defense Force.

Also fired was Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, the minister for women, children and people with disabilities, who had faced criticism for failing to get the newly established ministry off the ground.

No changes were made at key ministries, such as Finance, Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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