Afghans to free many detainees
WASHINGTON -- The Afghan government has moved to release 80 percent of the high-security detainees who were handed over this year by the U.S. military and evaluated by an Afghan review panel, according to a Defense Department report released Friday.
Many of the recommendations for release have been opposed by the U.S. military on the grounds that the detainees, some of whom were apprehended in dangerous raids of insurgent redoubts, pose an ongoing risk to Afghan security forces and government officials.
U.S. officials had hoped that the Afghan review board would endorse continued incarceration, but it has decided instead to free most of the detainees whose cases it has examined, on grounds that insufficient evidence was collected to prosecute them in court.
Runoff vote in Maldives
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Voters in the Maldives seemed fated to return to the polls today for a runoff vote after the country's third attempt since September to pick a president failed to yield an outright winner.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed was in the lead with 46.6 percent after Saturday's voting -- short of the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff -- as election officials reported 99 percent of ballots counted. Abdulla Yameen of Progressive Party of Maldives was second with 30 percent of the vote.
The runoff was scheduled for today to meet the constitutional requirement that a new president be elected before Monday.
Rickets making comeback
LONDON -- Rickets, the childhood disease that once caused an epidemic of bowed legs and curved spines during the Victorian era, is making a shocking comeback in 21st-century Britain.
Rickets results from a severe deficiency of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Rickets was historically considered to be a disease of poverty among children who toiled in factories during the Industrial Revolution, and some experts have hypothesized it afflicted literary characters like Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
Last month, Britain's chief medical officer, Sally Davies, proposed that the country give free vitamins to all children under 5 and asked the country's independent health watchdog to study if that would be worthwhile.
Journalist's visa rejected
BEIJING -- The Chinese government has rejected the visa application of a veteran U.S. journalist who had been waiting eight months to begin a new reporting job in China for Thomson Reuters, the company said.
The reporter, Paul Mooney, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry told Reuters on Friday that it would not grant him a resident journalist visa but declined to provide a reason. Mr. Mooney returned to the United States last year after the expiration of his previous visa, which was sponsored by The South China Morning Post, a newspaper based in Hong Kong.
Detained reporter freed
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan authorities released on Saturday a Miami Herald reporter they detained almost two days ago while he reported on the South American country's economic crisis.
The Miami Herald reported on its website that Jim Wyss was released from a detention facility in Caracas and handed over to U.S. Embassy officials.