Officer pleads guilty
A naval intelligence officer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to handing over secrets to Russia in a four-year espionage operation that involved access to a computer network shared with the US and other allies, according to media reports. The Canadian government, noting that proceedings were still subject to a publication ban, gave no details of the evidence against sub-lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle. It confirmed that he had pleaded guilty to espionage. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp said Delisle walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in 2007, asked to meet someone from the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence organization, and offered to sell it secrets.
Import of shark fins banned
Costa Rica has banned the import of shark fins, closing a legal loophole and targeting a link in a global production chain stretching to Asian markets, where shark fin soup is seen as a delicacy. Environmental groups have long campaigned against shark finning, in which the fins are chopped off living sharks that are then dumped back into the water and left to die. Shark finning “is a practice that Costa Rica does not accept and we want to send a clear signal about our opposition to these types of activities,” President Laura Chinchilla said on Wednesday at a coastal national park. Costa Rica has long banned the practice, but the latest move closes a loophole that had allowed for the import of shark fins.
Bond souvenirs auctioned
A London sale of James Bond souvenirs to mark the secret agent’s 50th silver-screen anniversary has raised over US$2.6 million, Christie’s auction house said on Wednesday. Buyers from 42 countries took part in the auction with all proceeds going to charity. Many of the objects on offer were supplied by Eon Productions, the British company that has produced the Bond films. The highlight of the collection was the Aston Martin DBS driven by Daniel Craig, the current Bond, in the opening scene of Quantum of Solace (2008), during an Italian car chase. In total, US$2,615,000 was raised during both sales for various charities including UNICEF.
Cuba has released Jorge Vazquez Chaviano, a dissident whose case sparked a hunger strike by 30 protesters last month, though he remains under “many restrictions,” he said. The 42-year-old was supposed to have been released on Sept. 9 after serving a year and a half sentence for “illegal economic activity.” However, local authorities said last month that his release had been postponed to April next year, leading to the declaration of a hunger strike on Sept. 10 that eventually included 30 activists.