AID GROUP SUSPENDS SOME TSUNAMI RELIEF
Aid group suspendssome tsunami relief
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- International aid group Oxfam has suspended some of its tsunami-relief operations in hard-hit Aceh province while it investigates suspected financial irregularities there, a spokesman said today. Relief organizations in Indonesia have pledged to carefully audit their funds amid concerns that aid dollars could be stolen by corrupt officials or contractors in the country, which is rated as one of the world's most graft ridden. Oxfam spokesman Douglas Keating said investigators were probing irregularities involving "tens of thousands of dollars" at one project office covering the provincial capital Banda Aceh and surrounding districts. He gave no more details on the nature of the irregularities.
Sirhan Sirhan is deniedparole for the 13th time
FRESNO, Calif. -- Sirhan Sirhan, who shot Robert F. Kennedy to death in 1968, was denied parole Wednesday for the 13th time since his conviction. Sirhan is "very hostile. He hates Americans. ... He continues to pose a risk to public safety," said state Board of Parole Hearings spokesman Tip Kindel. Sirhan did not attend the hearing at Corcoran State Prison or appoint a lawyer to represent him. His longtime attorney died last year after numerous failed attempts to get his client a new trial. Sirhan also did not appear at his last hearing in 2003. Periodical hearings are guaranteed by law. Sirhan's next parole hearing will be in 2011. Kennedy was shot in the narrow pantry of Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968, soon after the New York senator claimed victory in the California presidential primary. Sirhan was wrestled to the ground with the gun in his hand. Prosecutors at Sirhan's trial said the Palestinian immigrant targeted Kennedy because of his pledge to sell fighter jets to Israel. Sirhan blurted out in court that he killed the senator "premeditatedly with 20 years of malice aforethought," but later insisted he did not remember the episode.
Moussaoui prosecutorsask judge to reconsider
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Prosecutors asked a judge Wednesday to reconsider her decision to toss out half of the government's case against confessed terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. They acknowledged that altering the judge's ruling is their only hope of salvaging the death-penalty case. In a motion filed with U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, prosecutors said the aviation security evidence she barred because a government lawyer coached the witnesses "goes to the very core of our theory of the case." At the very least, the prosecutors argued they should be allowed to present a newly designated aviation security witness who had no contact with the offending lawyer. They said this would "allow us to present our complete theory of the case, albeit in imperfect form."
Palestinian leader toursJericho prison raid site
JERICHO, West Bank -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday toured the devastated Jericho prison where Israel spirited away six prisoners, denouncing the raid as an "unforgivable crime." Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the six Palestinians, including Ahmed Saadat, leader of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, will face trial. "They will be indicted according to Israeli law and they will be punished as they deserve," he said. Abbas, who cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the crisis, suggested there was close coordination between foreign guards watching the prisoners and Israeli forces. He said Israeli troops arrived 10 minutes after foreign monitors left Jericho.
Sony will delay launchof PlayStation 3
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sony Corp. will delay the launch of its much-anticipated PlayStation 3 console until November, prolonging the agony not only for itself but also for many others in the video game industry. Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony's video games division, said Sony is still trying to finalize the copyright-protection technology and other standards for the Blu-ray DVD disc, the high-definition video format for PlayStation 3 and other next-generation DVD players. The PlayStation 3 is critical for Sony's profits and brand image, so the delay from its promised "spring" debut is a major setback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company as it struggles to mount a recovery after several years of poor earnings. And any potential delay after November -- missing the holiday season -- would be even more damaging, though financial analysts are mixed on concerns about whether Sony and its component suppliers will be able to deliver as now promised.