Genocide case rejected
A judge on Monday rejected a case of "genocide" and torture against Chinese Trade Minister Bo Xilai (薄熙來) filed by the Falun Gong religious group. Judge Ismael Moreno ruled that as none of the alleged crimes took place on Spanish soil the charges were beyond the jurisdiction of the courts. A British court earlier this month rejected an application to have minister Bo arrested because he had diplomatic immunity. The application related to Bo's time as governor of Liaoning Province, in northeast China. The Falun Gong Association in Britain alleges Bo was "actively involved" in persecuting, torturing and even killing their members.
Arms deal goes through
Spain signed an arms deal on Monday to supply military transport aircraft and patrol boats to Caracas, as both governments dismissed objections by the US. Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono defended the US$2 billion deal saying that no international embargo prohibited the sale. The US, which has accused President Hugo Chavez of destabilizing the region, had lobbied Spain to drop the deal and signaled it still might block the transaction if US technology was involved. Washington distrusts Chavez's leftist politics and his ties to Cuban leader Fidel Castro. US officials say they fear the arms could end up in the hands of rebels in Colombia.
■ United States
Turner says Iraq no better off
Media mogul Ted Turner said that Iraq is no better off following the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein than it was before the war. Turner also said the US and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other on a ``hair trigger,'' and he was afraid someone could make the mistake to launch them, including President George W. Bush. "You have to question ... the president on a lot of decisions he's made," Turner said on Monday in a lecture at Kansas State University. "He might just think launching those weapons would be a good thing to do. ... He thought Iraq was," he said.
■ United States
Congressman pleads guilty
Republican Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham, 63, an eight-term congressman and hotshot Vietnam War fighter pilot, pleaded guilty to graft and tearfully resigned, admitting he took US$2.4 million in bribes mostly from defense contractors in exchange for government business and other favors. "The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office," he said at a news conference on Monday. "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family." He could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing on Feb. 27 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and tax evasion.
■ United States
Heroic cop slain
A police officer who was shot in the heart during a car chase ignored the wound and helped try to catch the gunman before dying later at a hospital, authorities said. Dillon Stewart, 35, died on Monday despite wearing a bulletproof vest. One round entered his left armpit, missing the protective plating "by no more than a quarter of an inch [0.64cm]," police commissioner Raymond Kelly said. Stewart, who was married with two children, "showed remarkable tenacity and courage in pursuing his assailant," Kelly said. The suspect, Allan Cameron, 27, also was picked out of a lineup on Monday in connection with the robbery and shooting of another officer on Nov. 19.