Hezbollah-Backed Mikati Appointed PM, Protests Rage in Tripoli

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIRUT, Lebanon) – Hezbollah-backed Najib Mikati has been named as Lebanon’s prime minister designate, despite continued protests around the country backing outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Major protests in Tripoli, as well as smaller ones in Beirut, were part of what has been called a “day of rage,” despite Hariri’s continued condemnation of the violence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that a government controlled by Hezbollah would “clearly" impact U.S. relations with the country, as Washington sees the group as a terrorist organization. Mikati, however, told the BBC he is in no way related to Hezbollah and considers himself a “moderate” politician.

The political crisis and following unrest were the result of an investigation into the murder of Hariri’s father, Rafik Hariri, which is expected to point to Hezbollah members.

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Gitmo Detainee Sentenced to Life in Prison

This courtroom drawing shows Tanzanian Ahmed Ghailani (C) in court with his defense team on Nov. 17, 2010 in New York. Photo Courtesy - SHIRLEY SHEPARD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – The first Guantanamo Bay detainee brought to the United States for a civilian trial has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of one of the more than 200 counts against him.

Ahmed Ghailani was sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court Tuesday for his role in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

"Ahmed Ghailani is a remorseless terrorist, mass murderer, and Al Qaeda operative, and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. “Finally, 12 and a half years after those devastating and despicable attacks, Ahmed Ghailani will pay for his crimes.”

Public interest groups, who have supported civilian trials for the detainees, have expressed their support for the trial and sentence.

"The Ghailani trial, like hundreds of others before it, should put to rest any unfounded fears that our federal justice system cannot conduct fair, safe and effective trials in terrorism cases, including when torture is an issue,” the ACLU said in a statement.

Such groups have urged President Obama to use Department of Justice funds to bring the detainees to the U.S. for trial despite a recently passed law that would ban the use of DOD funds for the transfers.

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Two Protesters, Policeman Dead in Egypt 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- What started as a peaceful protest in Cairo turned violent Tuesday, as tens of thousands of Egyptians who were inspired and emboldened by the recent uprising in Tunisia took to the streets.

Two protesters have been shot and killed by rubber bullets in Suez, which is 85 miles east of Cairo. The Interior Ministry reports that one policeman has also been killed.

Thousands have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, refusing to leave until President Hosni Mubarak steps down. Chants of “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak” filled the streets amid accusations of corruption and complaints about poverty.

Social media has played a major role in the gathering as more than 80,000 people signed up on a protest page, pledging to join the demonstration. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in Egypt, however, with Twitter users being redirected to third-party sites.

As the protest seems to gather steam, some wonder whether the new energy has the momentum to actually bring about change in Egypt.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 10 in Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- A teenage boy killed at least 10 people in a suicide attack at a security checkpoint in Pakistan Tuesday after he was stopped from entering a crowded Shiite procession, a police official said.

The boy, whose reported age has ranged from 14 to 18, was carrying a bag and attempted to join a large group of marchers in Lahore, Pakistan, when security officials at a checkpoint refused to let him through without being searched, Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen told ABC News.

Instead of submitting to the search, the boy threw the bag -- which turned out to be full of hand grenades -- at the policemen and then blew himself up, Tareen said. Most of those killed were policemen manning the checkpoint, and dozens more were injured.

Police had set up three cordons to help secure the site of the procession, which marked the 40th day of mourning of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad's grandson -- an occasion observed by Shiite Muslims.

The boy was stopped at the outermost cordon.

Tareen said police suspect Taliban and secretarian groups affiliated with the Taliban directed the attack.

Not long afterward, on the opposite end of the country, another suicide attack claimed three lives in Karachi. The bomber there was reportedly riding a motorcycle and carrying explosives in a bag.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Russian President: Airport Security 'Simply Anarchy' Before Bombing

Photo Courtesy - Sasha Mordovets/ Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- A day after at least one suicide bomber murdered 35 people and injured more than 100 more in a Moscow airport, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the attack "shows that there were clearly breaches in security" at the airport -- including vulnerabilities American transportation officials are scrambling to address halfway around the world.

Medvedev said in a statement Tuesday that tougher security legislation had been created following previous terrorist attacks on Russian transportation hubs, "but unfortunately -- and that is our biggest problem -- we do not always enforce even the most important legislation."

"The airport is good, everyone recognizes that, it is new and modern.  But what has happened shows that there were clearly breaches in security, and everyone who makes decisions here, including the airport management, will answer for this," he said.  "This is an act of terror.  This is grief.  This is a tragedy."

In a meeting with Russia's security service, the FSB, Medvedev said security at the airport had slipped into a state of "simply anarchy."

No terror group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the arrivals hall of Domodedovo airport -- a space that, like in American airports, is open to the public and not subject to security screening.

Just hours after reports of the attack emerged, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said that passengers traveling through U.S. airports "may continue to notice unpredictable security measures," including some before they reached official security checkpoints.

"We are monitoring the tragedy at Moscow's Domodedovo airport.  As always, we are working with our international partners to share information regarding the latest terrorist tactics and security best practices," the TSA said in a statement Monday.  "Passengers may continue to notice unpredictable security measures in all areas of U.S. airports, including before the checkpoint.  These measures include explosive detection technology, canine teams and Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, among other measures both seen and unseen."

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Japanese Fugitive Tells All in New Book

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A Japanese man who was charged with raping and murdering a British woman in 2007 is releasing a new book to reveal what he did as a fugitive for more than two years.

Japanese police arrested Tatsuya Ichihashi in 2009 -- two years after investigators found the body of Ichihashi's British English teacher, Lindsey Hawker, beaten in a bathtub filled with sand, on his balcony of his residence outside of Tokyo.  The arrest brought an end to a 2 year, 7 month search for the prime suspect in Hawker's murder, but it marked the beginning of speculation surrounding Ichihashi's years on the run.

Now, the 32-year-old at the center of the case is releasing a tell-all book revealing how he evaded capture for so long.  Ichihashi's book doesn't discuss his alleged crime, but it does reveal a desperate attempt to stay out of prison.  He talks about his train rides to the northern tip of Japan and ferry rides to a remote island in the Southern Okinawa prefecture.

He worked at a construction company to make money, and went to extreme lengths to disguise himself.  He cut his lower lip with scissors to thin it out, he used a knife to remove a mole from his face, he even sewed his own nose using needle and thread.  All of this was prior to seeing a plastic surgeon, who raised the bridge on his nose,  and cut double folds into his eyelids to give Ichihashi a "Western look."

The book Until I Was Arrested will be released Wednesday.  Royalties from sales will be donated to Hawker's family and charity.  Ichihashi's lawyers say it's a "sign of contrition" but Hawker's family says they're disgusted and hurt that publishers allowed the book's release.

Ichihashi's trial is expected to start later this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'I Have Very Little Time,' Moscow Terror Victim Predicted

Photo Courtesy - Andrey Smirnov/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- A celebrated playwright who was one of the victims of the suicide bombing Monday in a Moscow airport had written just one month ago that she felt she had "very little time."

Anna Mishutina, who wrote under the pseudonym Anna Yablonskaya, arrived at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport just after 4 p.m. Monday from her native Ukraine for an awards ceremony.

As she entered the arrivals hall in the Russian capital's busiest airport, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device, killing Mishutina and at least 34 others in the deadliest terrorist attack in Russia in almost a year.

Mishutina, who lived in Odessa with her husband and 3-year-old daughter, was recently described by Moscow's leading English language newspaper as "one of the most talked-about new Russian playwrights."

But just one month ago she posted an ominous note on her blog.

"It seems to me that I have very little time," she wrote.

"I really didn't like it when I read that," Mishutina's friend Natalia Antonova told ABC News.  "I don't know if people can feel these things coming, but she was a very sensitive person, very attuned to the physical and the metaphysical."

Mishutina's plays were produced in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.  According to the Royal Court Theatre in London, she took part in an international residency last year, and there will be a reading of her play The Pagans there in April.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US: Palestinian Leaks Cause Difficulty; Deal Still 'Possible'

File Photo: Construction of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem caused peace talks to stop between Palestinian and Israeli leaders. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Al-Jazeera TV began releasing confidential documents Sunday that reportedly show major Palestinian concessions to Israel.  The documents consisting of communication between Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. leaders cover the years 2000-2010, according to BBC News.

The U.S. State Department maintains that the leaked documents may cause some difficulty in the peace process, but making a deal is "both possible and necessary."

Recent peace talks were suspended after Israel refused to halt the construction of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the leaks will likely make the the the situation "more difficult than it already was," but said that the U.S. has spoken to all the parties involved and that the objective remains the same.

"We continue to believe that a framework agreement is both possible and necessary, so we continue to work and engage the parties as we've done throughout the process," he said.

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Egypt Requests Germany's Return of 3,400-Year-Old Nefertiti Bust

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt officially asked Monday that Germany return the 3,400 year-old bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, which is currently on display in Berlin Neues Museum. 

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiques secretary general, Zahi Hawass, sent a letter of request following a series of meetings and communications with the National Committee for the Return of Stolen Artifact, according to Egyptian news reports.

Hawass now wishes to recover the piece -- uncovered in Egypt by the German archeologist Ludwig Borchardt in 1912 -- and display it at the opening of Egypt's Akhnaton Museum in 2012.

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Hezbollah Candidate May Lead New Lebanese Government

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIRUT, Lebanon) -- Following the fall of its government just two weeks ago, Lebanon may have a new prime minister with the backing of the militant group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is expected to nominate Najib Mikati to be the nation's new premier.

Mikati, a former Lebanese prime minister and a billionare, served as the nation's chief in 2005 in a caretaker government which preceded parliamentary elections.

Mikati came into his wealth as the creator of Investcom, a telecommunications company.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman spoke with lawmakers on Monday as the process began to choose a new prime minister, following the fall of the coalition led by Saad Hariri.

A Hezbollah-led coalition walked out of the government in mid-January in protest of a United Nations-led inquiry into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Hezbollah claims the inquisition was targeted against them by the United States.

The U.S. has made clear its intentions to cease all aid to Lebanon in the event of a Hezbollah-controlled government because of its alleged ties to al Qaeda.

Although the rules of Lebanese government do not allow Hezbollah to take full control, this move would give the group more power in policy-making decisions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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