- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Prosecutors mull charges over phone hacking

LONDON | Criminal charges are being considered against 11 people in four cases related to investigations into phone hacking and other alleged misconduct by British newspapers, the country’s chief prosecutor said Wednesday.

Four journalists, one police officer and six other people are involved in the cases, the first to be referred to prosecutors since new police investigations were triggered by revelations that reporters at Rupert Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World routinely intercepted voice mail messages of those in the public eye.

Keir Starmer, head of Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, made the announcement as he laid out new guidelines to help his lawyers assess whether reporters broke the law.

Although he declined to say how long deliberations would take, Mr. Starmer indicated that potential criminal prosecutions over tabloid wrongdoing were drawing near.


268,000 rounds of ammo seized in U.S. truck

CIUDAD JUAREZ | Mexican customs inspectors seized 268,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition found in a U.S. truck at a border crossing in Ciudad Juarez, authorities reported Wednesday.

Angel Torres, a spokesman for Mexico’s tax agency, which oversees customs inspections, said a 37-year-old man from Dallas was detained for trying to drive the truck across the border from El Paso, Texas.


Gunman wants freedom or death

OSLO | The right-wing fanatic on trial for massacring 77 people in Norway says he wants either freedom or death, calling the country’s prison terms “pathetic” and arguing for the return of capital punishment, which was last used here to execute Nazi collaborators after World War II.

In the third day of his terror trial, Anders Behring Breivik was grilled by prosecutors about the anti-Muslim militant group he claims to belong to.

He rejected their suggestions that the “Knights Templar” doesn’t exist, but admitted he had embellished when describing the network in a 1,500-page manifesto he published online before the bomb-and-shooting rampage on July 22.


Top Islamic cleric visits Jerusalem

CAIRO | A top Egyptian Islamic cleric paid a rare visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday, breaking with decades of opposition by Muslim leaders on traveling to areas under Israeli control.

The Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa wrote on his Twitter account that the symbolic visit was in solidarity with the Palestinians’ claim to East Jerusalem, under Israel’s control since it was captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

He prayed in the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, during his two-hour visit.

Grand Mufti Gomaa called the trip an unofficial visit, clearly an attempt to defuse criticism he already is facing for breaking an unofficial ban by Muslim clerics and most Egyptian professional and private associations on visiting Israel or Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories.

Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979, but most Egyptians view the Jewish state as their top enemy.


Canada considering request to take Gitmo prisoner

TORONTO | Canada said Wednesday that the U.S. wants to send back the last remaining Western detainee at Guantanamo, and the Canadian government must now decide whether to take him.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is considering repatriating Omar Khadr, the ministry said in a statement. It did not say when a decision was expected, but a U.S. official suggested it could be soon.

Khadr, 25, pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a U.S. soldier and was eligible to return to Canada from Guantanamo Bay last October under terms of a plea deal.

Khadr was 15 when he was captured in 2002, and he has spent a decade in Guantanamo. He received an eight-year sentence in 2010 - but only one year had to be served at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.


Thousands of farmworkers seize thousands of acres

TEGUCIGALPA | Thousands of farmworkers have seized 30,000 acres of land around Honduras as part of a dispute with large landowners and the government, activists and officials said Wednesday.

Activists say the seized territory is arable public land that small farmers have the legal right to grow crops on under Honduran law.

The large landowners who have been farming the land say they bought it legally from the government.

A land dispute between small farmers and landlords in the northern Aguan Valley has led to dozens of deaths among farmworkers in recent years.

Mabel Marquez, of the organization Via Campesina, said that the largest seizure had occurred on the country’s Caribbean coast, where roughly 1,500 farmworkers had seized land held by a sugar plantation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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