Pay dispute closes airport
Pay dispute closes airport
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- An embarrassing pay dispute between Iraq's government and a British security firm came to a head Friday and caused the shutdown of Baghdad International Airport, the country's only reliable and relatively safe link to the outside world. The Interior Ministry sent troops to reopen the dusty, sprawling stone-and-marble facility but called them back after confronting U.S. forces at a checkpoint on the dangerous airport highway, notorious for frequent insurgent attacks. Meanwhile in Tal Afar, an insurgent bastion near the Syrian border in northwestern Iraq, two simultaneous car bombs Friday killed five Iraqi soldiers. The bodies of 10 men -- in civilian clothes, handcuffed and decapitated -- were found on the city's western outskirts.
h Fired prime ministerswitches party allegiance
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ousted Prime Minster Yulia Tymoshenko -- the beloved blond-braided heroine of Ukraine's mass protests -- signaled Friday she will join the opposition, making her a formidable challenger to the president who fired her government. In her first public comments since her dismissal Thursday, Tymoshenko said she and President Viktor Yushchenko, who protested side by side last year in the Orange Revolution that swept them to power, are no longer allies. In dismissing Tymoshenko, the president accused her government of being too embroiled in internal bickering.
Lawyer gets 18 months
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- An attorney who gave a TV reporter a secret FBI videotape from an investigation into city hall corruption was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison. Joseph Bevilacqua Jr. also must serve three years of supervised release and pay $152,000, the cost of the government's investigation into who leaked the tape. Reporter Jim Taricani served four months of home confinement for refusing to reveal Bevilacqua as his source. He was freed in April.
Egypt's election critiqued
CAIRO, Egypt -- Turnout was miserably low, voting irregularities were prevalent, and the result -- President Hosni Mubarak's re-election -- was known from the start. Still, some in the opposition said Friday that Egypt's flawed vote created momentum toward greater democracy. Wednesday's election was the first in which Mubarak has faced opponents.
Dutch citizen charged
WASHINGTON -- A Dutch citizen was indicted by a U.S. grand jury on charges of conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq, the Justice Department said Friday. Iraqi-born Wasem al Delaema, 32, is accused of plotting attacks against U.S. troops near Fallujah in October 2003. He is the first person charged in this country with terrorist activities in Iraq. A Dutch court will decide whether to extradite al Delaema to the United States. He faces life in prison if convicted of the charges.
'Bagman' gets prison time
CHICAGO -- The former director of administration at Chicago's water department was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison for serving as a "bagman" who collected bribes from trucking companies that wanted city hauling work. Gerald Wesolowski, 46, also was fined $7,500 and agreed to forfeit $25,000 for his part in an expanding corruption scandal that has prompted an embarrassed Mayor Richard M. Daley to fire a number of city officials. When he pleaded guilty in May, Wesolowski said he collected the payoff money for former First Deputy Water Commissioner Donald S. Tomczak.
Bats suspect in SARS
WASHINGTON -- Scientists in China say they have found a genetic relative of the human SARS virus in a local species of bat, raising the possibility that the bats were a primary source of the disease when it was transmitted to humans. After SARS first became a threat in 2002, research suggested the virus may have come from the civet, a catlike wild animal eaten by people in southern China. Thousands were seized from Chinese wildlife markets and slaughtered. The new research raises the possibility that the bats may have given the civets the SARS virus or given it directly to humans. It is unclear where the bats got the virus.