Officials deny refugee deal
The country has denied it has struck a deal with Israel to take in tens of thousands of African refugees, foreign ministry officials said yesterday. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday that Israel would finance the migrants’ flights to the country and their resettlement there, with each refugee apparently receiving US$1,500. However, Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Elly Kamahungye denied the deal. “It’s not true, it is unfounded, false and misleading that we have such an agreement,” Kamahungye said. Haaretz had quoted Israeli Minister of the Interior Gideon Saar as telling a parliamentary committee this week that a senior Israeli official had obtained Kampala’s assent to the deal. Israeli immigration authorities say there are about 55,000 illegal African migrants in the country. Many came by foot through Egypt and slipping through the formerly porous border into Israel, which is now being sealed by a sophisticated system of walls and electronic fences.
Suspect survives 64m fall
A bank robbery suspect trying to elude police searching for him in an apartment building jumped into a garbage chute and survived a 64m fall into trash in the basement, police said on Friday. Robin Gutheridge, 26, plunged from the 21st floor of the Clinton Plaza Apartments in Syracuse, New York, a few blocks from the Chase Bank Branch he had robbed earlier, Sergeant Tom Connellan said. He was conscious and told police he had climbed into the garbage chute to avoid being captured. Firefighters moved the compactor and removed Gutheridge from the chute, police said.
Foie gras ban upheld
California can continue to ban the sale of foie gras, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday, in a setback for producers of the delicacy who have sought to ship it to the state. Foie gras means “fatty liver” in French. Prized for its rich flavor and smooth texture, the delicacy is produced by force-feeding corn to ducks and geese to enlarge their livers, which are harvested to make gourmet dishes. Animal rights groups contend that the force-feeding process is painful, gruesome and inhumane. Los Angeles-based Hot’s Restaurant Group, Canada’s Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec and New York producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras challenged the ban in a lawsuit filed last year. They argued the state’s law banning the sale of foie gras is vague because it lacks specifics on how much food a bird can be fed. However, Judge Harry Pregerson in the appeals court’s 27-page opinion dismissed that argument.
President rebukes Assange
President Rafael Correa on Friday chastised WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange for making fun of Australian politicians in a video shot at his place of refuge in the country’s London embassy. “We have sent him a letter: He can campaign politically, but without making fun of Australian politicians. We are not going to allow that,” Correa said here on the sidelines of a South American summit. Correa was referring to a video featuring Assange in a comedy wig singing and sending up Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, his predecessor Julia Gillard and Australian Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott in the run-up to Australia’s Sept. 7 elections. The video has been watched 465,942 times since it was downloaded on Monday.