World briefs: 10/3/2009
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JERUSALEM -- In the first glimpse of him since his capture more than three years ago, a thin but healthy-looking Israeli soldier said in a video released yesterday by Hamas that he is being treated well by his Palestinian captors and appealed to Israel's leader to bring him home.
Israel received the two-minute video of Sgt. Gilad Schalit from Hamas militants after it released 19 female Palestinian prisoners earlier yesterday in an exchange that is the first tangible step toward defusing a key flash point in Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.
The images of Sgt. Schalit were the first to be released since his capture 3 1/2 years ago by Hamas-linked militants in the Gaza Strip.
MINGORA, Pakistan -- Scores of badly tortured bodies have been found dumped in Pakistan's Swat valley, raising concerns that the Pakistani army is conducting a campaign of extra-judicial killings and brutality aimed at suspected Taliban militants that could sully the army's successful campaign against them.
At least two mass graves for executed Taliban have been discovered, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent organization. Separately, an Internet video emerged yesterday that appeared to show Pakistani soldiers, likely in Swat, beating prisoners, including elderly men. Abbas reverses course
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas drew scathing criticism at home yesterday for his decision to suspend a campaign to have Israeli officials prosecuted for war crimes over last winter's military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
Mr. Abbas' reversal came under heavy U.S. pressure and means no further international action is likely for at least six months.
At issue is a recent U.N. report that alleges both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes in three weeks of fighting.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Four U.S. Republican lawmakers met with Honduras' interim president yesterday in a challenge to Washington's condemnation of the coup that brought him to power.
The brief, amicable visit with the leaders of the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya highlights a divide in Washington, where the Obama administration is working to reinstate Mr. Zelaya but many conservatives side with the government installed after soldiers arrested the president and flew him into exile.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, the leader of the delegation, said before the trip that even calling Mr. Zelaya's overthrow a coup is "ill-informed and baseless."
DUBLIN -- The future of the European Union hung in the balance yesterday as Ireland's voters decided once again whether to ratify a treaty aimed at making the 27-nation body more decisive and effective.
No professional pollsters or media organizations conducted exit polls. Official results come today.
MANILA, Philippines -- Filipinos braced yesterday to be whipped by powerful winds and pelted with rain from a second typhoon in eight days, fleeing by the tens of thousands from low-lying areas and suspending cleanup operations in the flooded capital.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a nationwide "state of calamity" and ordered mass evacuations of six provinces in the path of Typhoon Parma, which was expected to hit the main island of Luzon midafternoon today.
First Published October 3, 2009 12:03 am