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Britain recognizes Libyan rebels, ousts Gadhafi embassy staff

Times wires

LONDON — Britain has ordered the Libyan Embassy's remaining staff members to leave the country and has recognized the Libyan rebels' ruling Transitional National Council as the only official representative of the North African nation, Foreign Secretary William Hague said at a news conference Wednesday.

The eight staff members will follow Libyan Ambassador Omar Jelban, who was expelled in May.

Frozen Libyan assets, including about $127 million belonging to the national oil company, would pay for fuel needed in rebel-held territory and aid Libyan students in Britain, Hague said.

There was speculation Wednesday that the British decisions were at least in part a reaction to the appearance of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi at a pro-Gadhafi rally in Tripoli televised Tuesday night. Megrahi was convicted in 2001 for his role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. He was released by Britain in 2009 after doctors said he was in the final stages of cancer, and he returned to Libya to a highly publicized homecoming.

Syrian songwriter slain: Ibrahim Qashoush's lyrics moved thousands of protesters in Syria who sang his jaunty verses at rallies, telling President Bashar Assad, "Time to leave." So when the body of the 42-year-old father of three was dumped in the river flowing through his hometown, his killers added an obvious message: His throat was carved out. An estimated 1,600 civilians have died in the crackdown on the largely peaceful protests that have been raging around Syria for more than four months.

Information from the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

Britain recognizes Libyan rebels, ousts Gadhafi embassy staff 07/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:10pm]
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