- - Thursday, July 19, 2012

United Arab Emirates

DUBAI — A U.S. Navy helicopter with a crew of five crashed n the Gulf nation of Oman on Thursday, a Navy spokesman said.

Lt. Greg Raelson, of the Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, gave no immediate word on the fate of the crew, but an Omani air force official said three of them have been found so far and are being treated at a hospital. The official was not authorized to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity

No hostile activity is suspected.

Lt. Raelson said an investigation is under way into crash of the MH-35E Sea Dragon. He said the helicopter was assigned to a mine countermeasure squadron and was involved in heavy lift operations when it crashed 58 miles southwest of the capital Muscat.

Saudi Arabia

Former ambassador to U.S. named spy chief

RIYADH — Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to the United States, has been named the country’s new intelligence chief, the royal palace announced Thursday.

Prince Bandar, who retains his job as secretary-general of Saudi Arabia’s National Security Council, replaces Mogren bin Abdel Aziz, who resigned.

Prince Bandar was Saudi envoy to Washington from 1983 to 2005.


Former dictator gets second life sentence

TUNIS — Tunisia’s former dictator Thursday received his second life sentence in absentia from a military court that convicted him for complicity in the killings of protesters during the uprising that ousted him last year.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who is in exile in Saudi Arabia, was already given a life sentence in June in the deaths of protesters in southern Tunisia, where the movement against him began in December 2010.

Tunisia has asked Saudi Arabia to extradite Ben Ali so he can face these and other charges in person, but the nation has never received an answer. Nonetheless, the Tunisian government has pledged to bring Ben Ali and all of his associates to justice for crimes they allegedly committed during his 23-year iron-fisted rule.

The latest case concerned protesters killed in the capital and the north of the country. More than 40 officials were tried, receiving sentences ranging from five years to life in prison. The former head of the presidential guard, Ali Seriati, was sentenced to 20 years prison, while former Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem was given 15 years. Both are in custody.


Demonstrators demand ouster of president

NOUAKCHOTT — Thousands of Mauritanians protested in the capital late Wednesday, calling for the departure of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a man they accuse of despotism and mismanagement.

Protestors chanted “Aziz get out” and “we are sick of the tyrant” as they marched through Nouakchott in the latest of several anti-regime protests held in the West African nation in recent months.

Saleh Ould Henenna, leader of the Coordination of Democratic Opposition who organized the march, said Mr. Aziz should “leave before it is too late.”

The opposition began holding similar protests May 2, most of which have been broken up by police, leaving several injured.

They accuse Mr. Aziz of despotism and mismanagement and having failed to heed commitments made in the diplomatic accords that led to his election in 2009, a year after he seized power in a coup.

The president’s term expires in 2014.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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