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Thursday
Feb172011

Pakistan Court Adjourns Raymond Davis' Immunity Case

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- The decision on whether Raymond Davis, the U.S. government official accused of killing two Pakistani men in Lahore last month, will receive diplomatic immunity will have to wait another three weeks.

Deputy Attorney General Naveed Inayat Malik, representing Pakistan's government, asked Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry for the extension Thursday in order to prepare their case on whether Davis qualifies for immunity.  Chaudhry granted the extra time, saying the case is premature until the government can establish Davis' status.

The case is now adjourned until March 14.

At Thursday's hearing, a number of lawyers argued that the name Raymond Allen Davis is an alias and that his passport has been issued under a false name.  They prayed before the court that, therefore, his picture should be placed on record and that Davis should be placed on the Exit Control List, which prohibits him from leaving the country.

The lawyers asked why an espionage case had not been registered against Davis, and also prayed for additional cases to be filed, including a case against Davis for illegally entering Pakistan.

They also argued that former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who recently met with Sen. John Kerry, should also be summoned to the court.  Qureshi had stated that Davis does not enjoy immunity and is willing to appear before the court in this regard.
 
One of the emotionally charged lawyers argued that Davis has access to alcohol, a cell phone, a television and other things of pleasure, and said these commodities should be stopped immediately and that Davis should be treated like an ordinary prisoner.

Davis is now in a judicial lock up in Lahore.  He has been placed on the Exit Control List, the judge confirmed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb172011

US Officials: Immigration Agents Were Targeted in Mexican Ambush

Jaime Zapata. Photo Courtesy - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement(MEXICO CITY) -- Based on the evidence, two U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents were deliberately targeted in a shooting in Mexico Tuesday that left one dead and the other wounded.

U.S. officials say that ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and a fellow agent were attacked by ten gunmen while traveling between Mexico City and Monterrey.  The car they were driving bore diplomatic license plates.

Zapata, who was part of the ICE Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit as well as the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, suffered fatal wounds, while the other agent is expected to fully recover.

Their armored vehicle was tailed by others, with one vehicle cutting them off in an ambush.

In response to the shooting, believed to be the work of Mexican drug cartels, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Holder said they were creating a task force headed by the FBI to work with the Mexican government in finding the assailants.

Zapata is the first U.S. agent slain in Mexico since a Drug Enforcement Agency officer was murdered in 1985.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb172011

Hosni Mubarak Not Dying; Had Breakfast on the Beach

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was well enough to have breakfast on the beach Wednesday and is doing well, a sharp contradiction to reports that the sidelined leader had slipped into a coma and was dying, a well-placed source told ABC News.

The source also said that the ruling Military Council was shocked by the level and scale of corruption by the Mubarak regime.  Shortly after taking charge, the military had asked that the finances of several top government officials be frozen ,pending investigations.

Mubarak is in seclusion at his Sharm el-Sheikh resort home along with his two sons, Gamal and Alaa.  The wives and children of his sons, however, have left the country, the source said.

In an indication that Mubarak, 82, has health issues, the source said that his personal physician was also with Mubarak in Sharm El Sheikh.

But the man who was ousted from the presidential palace after ruling Egypt for 30 years was strong enough Wednesday to have his breakfast on the beach, the source said.

Dubai-based television channel Al Arabiya also reported Wednesday that Mubarak is in ''good health,'' quoting a source who had reportedly spoken to him.

Concerns about Mubarak's health arose last week amid rumors that he had slipped into a coma shortly after being forced from office and leaving Cairo.  Those concerns were heightened when Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry told NBC that Mubarak was "possibly in somewhat of bad health," but did not provide details.

Saudi-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat printed a story on Tuesday claiming that Mubarak's health was deteriorating dramatically and that he was refusing to take his medication or travel to Germany for treatment.  The paper claimed he was suffering from depression following the revolution that brought an end to his rule on Feb. 11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Enterprise Crosses Suez, Israel Claims Iran Sending Through War Ships

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(WASHINGTON) -- The USS Enterprise transited the Suez Canal Tuesday en route to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area to support combat operations in the region, according to the Navy.

"Our ability to use the Suez Canal in a routine manner and according to long-standing plans demonstrates the ongoing stability of this important waterway," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander, Enterprise CSG.

Meanwhile, Israel has claimed that Iran is sending two warships through the canal to the Mediterranean, although Egyptian authorities under control of the Suez say the claim is unsubstantiated, reports the BBC.

In a statement, Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the movement of Iran warships a "provocation," although he offered no evidence that the ships would be crossing the canal.

According to the Suez Canal Authority, the last time Iranian warships passed through was in 1979.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Somali Pirate Sentenced to 34 Years in Prison

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of the first men charged with piracy in the United States since the Civil War was sentenced to almost 34 years in federal prison in a New York courtroom Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors had asked Judge Loretta Preska to give Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse more than 30 years for his role in the failed hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, an American-flagged ship, off Somalia two years ago.

Defense attorneys had argued that Muse was driven to piracy by poverty and should get the minimum sentence, 27 years. In giving Muse 33 years and nine months, Preska cited the need for deterrence.

"For five days that must have seemed like an eternity to this victims, Abduwali Abukhadir Muse terrorized the crew of the Maersk Alabama," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. "Now he will pay for those five days and the events leading up to them."

Muse pled guilty last year to being part of an armed crew that stormed the Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean on April 8, 2009 and took its captain, Richard Phillips, hostage.

Muse was stabbed in the hand by a member of the 20-man crew during a struggle aboard the boat, and then tied up by the crew.

Unable to take control of the Maersk Alabama, the remaining three pirates grabbed Phillips and put to sea in a lifeboat. The Maersk Alabama's crew tried to trade Muse for Phillips but were rebuffed by the pirates.

Prosecutors said that Muse was the first pirate to board the Maersk Alabama, fired an AK-47 at Phillips, and speaking English, threatened Phillips with death.

On April 12, 2009, Navy Seal snipers shot and killed the three pirates in the lifeboat with Phillips and rescued Phillips. Muse was brought to United States to stand trial on charges of piracy.

Muse, whose exact age is unknown but was determined by a U.S. judge to be over 18, was indicted on 10 counts, including piracy under the law of nations, conspiracy, hostage taking, kidnapping and possession of a machine gun while seizing a ship by force. In addition to the Maersk Alabama attack, he was charged in connection with two other attacks on ships off Somalia in March and April 2009.

Muse pled guilty to six felony counts of kidnapping, hostage-taking and hijacking maritime vessels in May 2010, more than a year after his capture. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Ruby the Heartbreaker: The Teen Temptress Behind Italy's Big Scandal

Photo Courtesy - Governo[dot])it(ROME) -- When Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appears in court this spring to defend himself against charges that he paid to have sex with a minor, the prosecution's star witness will be an 18-year-old Moroccan girl with a tantalizing monicker -- Ruby the Heartbreaker.

Ruby may also be a career breaker.

Berlusconi, who at 74 is one of Italy's richest men and certainly one of the most flamboyant, is trying to live up to his nickname of Il Cavalieri.

"I am not worried in the least," the prime minister said Wednesday.

Ruby doesn't seem too worried either and appears to be basking in the spotlight. According to Britain's Daily Mail, she is planning to pen a book about her relationship with the prime minister.

What is known of her story so far includes being a runaway who danced in nightclubs before she emerged at the center of Italy's biggest scandal in a generation. The story is studded with stories of being a relative to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, an arrest for theft, and lavish "bunga bunga" parties with a naked prime minister.

Karima el-Mahroug, also known as Karima Keyek, but best known as Ruby the Heartbreaker, is now 18.

But she told prosecutors in Milan last year that the prime minister showered her with thousands of dollars worth of cash and jewelry and invited her to two sex parties at a time when she was only 17.

For all of the lurid allegations Ruby has made, she has consistently denied that she ever had sex with Berlusconi. In interviews with the media and investigators Ruby has said the only money she ever received from the prime minister were gifts to help her out financially and not money for sexual favors.

She also admits she lied about her age, telling the prime minister she was 24.

"He knew that I was 24 years old because I told everyone that I was 24 years old," Ruby told Italian news station Sky TG24. "I didn't want people to know that I was a minor." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Royal Couple Lines up Trip to Canada

Photo Courtesy - Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The wedding of the year may still be more than two months away, but behind the scenes, planners are starting to fill William and Kate's royal engagement calendar and the first overseas trip has now been penciled in.

The newlywed couple will spend nine days in Canada in mid-summer and they'll see quite a bit of the vast country, as they move from Alberta to the Northwest Territories to Quebec.  William was last there back in 1998 when he toured Vancouver with his father and brother, Harry.

The royal couple will kick off their official engagements on July 1, a date that would have been the late Princess Diana's 50th birthday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Protests Spreading Through Middle East

Photo Courtesy - MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- Thousands of protestors in Bahrain have taken over the main square in the capital. They're demanding the Sunni-led regime include more Shi'ites and provide better jobs and housing.  Some say the prime minister and the whole regime must go. 

In Iran, hardline politicians are calling for the execution of the two main opposition leaders as arrests continue in a crackdown following Monday's protests. 

Jordan's King is facing threats of an uprising from a powerful group of Bedouin tribes who in a public letter accuse his wife, Queen Rania, of corruption and stealing public land for her family.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Libyans Continue Protests Day After Clashes Leave 14 Injured

Muammar Gaddafi. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Protesters in Libya are continuing to take to the streets of Tropoli and Benghazi Wednesday, demanding the ouster of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi and his government.

On Tuesday, demonstrators in Benghazi clashed with authorities, throwing stones at police, who responded with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets, according to the BBC.  Libya's Quryna newspaper reported 14 people were injured in the clashes, including 10 police officers and three protesters.

Libyans are now taking to social networking sites calling for more protests on Thursday.  On Twitter, the Libyan-American community, many of whom are political refugees of Gaddafi's regime, are encouraging protesters and trying to launch a following around the hashtag #Feb16.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

US Immigration Agent Killed, Other Wounded in Mexico Shooting

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement(MEXICO CITY) -- A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another wounded after they were shot while driving in Mexico Tuesday.

According to U.S. officials, Special Agent Jaime Zapata and another agent, who has not been identified, were driving between Mexico City and Monterrey when unknown assailants opened fire on them.  Zapata was critically injured in the shooting and died from his gunshot wounds, while the other agent was shot in the arm and leg and remains in stable condition.

Both agents were assigned to the ICE Attaché Office in Mexico City.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a statement on the attacks, saying, "Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel -- or any DHS personnel -- is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety.  The full resources of our Department are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation.  We remain committed in our broader support for Mexico’s efforts to combat violence within its borders.

Napolitano added that "U.S. law enforcement agencies are working closely with Mexican authorities who are investigating the shooting to ensure the perpetrators of this unconscionable crime are captured as quickly as possible."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio