World News Briefs: 6/30/12
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia --UNESCO's World Heritage committee on Friday approved a Palestinian bid to place the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on its list of sites of World Heritage in Danger .
Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi said the vote was an affirmation of Palestinian sovereignty over the site that marks the place where Christians believe Jesus was born.
Israel angrily denounced the vote.
The 21-member committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, voted 13-6 to include the church and pilgrimage route, located in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, on its list of sites. There were two abstentions.
The drive to get the Nativity church quickly recognized as a World Heritage site was part of the Palestinians' bid to win international recognition since attempts to establish a Palestinian state through negotiations with Israel are frozen.
NAIROBI, Kenya -- The U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Scott Gration, a close adviser and friend of President Barack Obama, announced his resignation Friday, weeks before the scheduled release of a U.S. government audit highly critical of his leadership at the embassy.
The audit by the State Department Office of Inspector General found that Mr. Gration repeatedly violated diplomatic security protocols at the embassy by using unsecured Internet connections despite warnings, according to a former State Department Africa Bureau official who has seen a draft of the report.
SEOUL, South Korea -- Faced with mounting political pressure at home, the South Korean government Friday abruptly postponed the signing of its first military cooperation pact with Japan since World War II.
The deal had been hailed as a significant step by the two governments. Both countries have been struggling to overcome the lingering historical bitterness between their peoples and to cooperate more closely on mutual security matters in the region.
MENDOZA, Argentina -- The Mercosur trade bloc suspended Paraguay's membership on Friday for having impeached and ousted its president but will not slap economic sanctions on the poor, landlocked country.
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo was impeached by the country's Congress a week ago in a fast-track trial triggered by a land eviction that killed 17 people in clashes between police and landless peasants.
PARIS -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former chief of the International Monetary Fund, has separated from his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair, according to news reports.
However, on Friday, lawyers for Mr. Strauss-Kahn announced in a statement that he and Ms. Sinclair would sue one of the magazines for invasion of privacy.
The statement neither confirmed nor denied that the couple was separating.
WASHINGTON -- International timekeepers are adding a second to the clock at midnight universal time Saturday, June 30, going into July 1.
A combination of factors, including Earth slowing down a bit from the tidal pull of the moon, means that periodically timekeepers have to synchronize the official atomic clocks, said Daniel Gambis, head of the Earth Orientation Service in Paris that coordinates leap seconds.
First Published June 30, 2012 12:00 am