Sun, Jul 20, 2003 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take


Legal proceedings against the two Britons facing a military trial in Guantanamo Bay were suspended Friday night to allow talks between British and US legal officials. In a minor concession to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is facing a growing row at home on the issue, US President George W. Bush personally authorized the temporary halt to proceedings. His move paved the way for the UK attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to fly to Washington next week for talks with US officials. London refused to comment on the likely outcome. Bush, who has branded the two Britons "bad men," agreed to the concession over dinner with Blair in the White House on Thursday.

■ United Kingdom

Journalist resigns

A Sky News journalist accused of "faking" a television report from a British Royal Navy submarine during the Iraq war has resigned, Sky News said on Friday. The report purported to show the preparation and firing of a cruise missile from HMS Splendid. But a BBC documentary crew filming at the same time said it had been specially staged for the benefit of Sky's camera and no missile was fired. Sky News said James Forlong's report was unacceptable to a news operation which had built a "proud reputation for accuracy and integrity."

■ Iran

Authorities to study death

Iran said on Friday it needed to investigate further to find out whether a Canadian journalist who died in custody of head injuries last week had been beaten. Deputy Interior Minister Aliasghar Ahmadi told the student news agency ISNA it was not clear whether Zahra Kazemi, a 54-year-old Canadian of Iranian descent, had been hit or had banged her head in a fall. "Based on the report by the medical team and the coroner's office, the death of Zahra Kazemi was caused by a blow to the head resulting from a collision with a hard object," ISNA quoted Ahmadi as saying. But he said there was "ambiguity on whether the death was caused by the hard object hitting the head or the head hitting the hard object."

■ Russia

Space-marriage plan fails

Cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko abandoned plans to marry his earthling girlfriend while circling the Earth aboard the International Space Station because of pressure from the Russian space agency, Russian press reported yesterday. With a tuxedo, wedding band and permission from Texas state authorities to wed his Russian-American girlfriend, Malenchenko was fully prepared to become the first person to marry from space. But he renounced the idea following a conversation with his superiors, a Russian space agency Rosaviakosmos spokesman said.

■ Guatemala

Ex-dictator seeks presidency

A former dictator who is facing charges of genocide will be running for president of Guatemala this year. This week, a court in Guatemala City ruled that retired general Efrain Rios Montt, accused of responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths during the 1980s civil war, was entitled to stand for office. The leader of a military coup in 1982, Rios Montt ruled Guatemala with an iron fist. A born-again evangelical Christian, he held power for 16 months before being ousted. It was during this period than many of the worst atrocities in Guatemala's 36-year civil war were committed.

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