Suspects, weapons seized
Intelligence agents have apprehended three suspected members of a Colombian paramilitary group, including a police officer, from a town near the countries’ shared border and seized a weapons cache, President Hugo Chavez’s government announced on Sunday. The suspects were nabbed last week during a sting operation in Rubio, a quaint town located about 50km from Venezuela’s border with Colombia, a government statement said. They are being questioned by prosecutors. The suspects — Luis Arfilio Salcedo Fernandez, a state police officer, Rivera Ardila Enadir, the officer’s wife, and Albarracin Romero Enadir — are alleged members of a Colombian paramilitary group known as “The Black Eagles,” which operates in several states along the border, the statement said.
Corruption policy to change
President Barack Obama’s top aides have concluded they need to refrain from promoting US-style corruption fighting in Afghanistan because of the rift it has caused with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Washington Post reported late on Sunday. Citing unnamed US civilian and military officials, the newspaper said Obama’s top national security advisers will meet with him to discuss the problem this week. The advisers do not yet agree on the contours of a new approach, the report said, but there is a growing consensus that key corruption cases against people in Karzai’s government should be resolved with face-saving compromises behind closed doors, the paper reported. “The current approach is not tenable,” the Post quoted an official as saying. “What will we get out of it? We’ll arrest a few mid-level Afghans, but we’ll lose our ability to operate there and achieve our principal goals.”
US to sell arms to Saudis
In the US’ largest arms deal ever, the administration of President Barack Obama is ready to notify Congress of plans to offer US$60 billion in advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The newspaper said the administration was also in talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades. The administration sees the sale as part of a broader policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran, the report said. The US$60 billion in fighter jets and helicopters is the top-line amount requested by the Saudis, even though the kingdom is likely to commit initially to buying only about half that amount, the paper said.