Envoy blasts U.N. leader
The Norwegian ambassador to the United Nations has accused Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in a confidential letter of weak leadership, lack of charisma and angry outbursts, the Oslo newspaper Aftenposten reported Wednesday. The newspaper published what it said was a letter to Norway's foreign ministry from Mona Juul. She wrote that Ban was a "passive observer" to Myanmar's arrest of opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and criticized his reaction to the civil war in Sri Lanka and to developments in Darfur, Somalia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and the Congo. Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marte Lerberg Kopstad refused to comment on the letter. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Ban was "hard working" and a "good listener." Ban is due on an official visit to Norway starting Aug. 31.
Lockerbie case decision today
A decision has been reached in the case of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Scottish government said Wednesday. Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said he has spoken with the families of the victims and would make a formal announcement today in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. Sky News television and the BBC reported that Megrahi will be released from prison on compassionate grounds, possibly before the end of the week.
Honduras: The rights group Amnesty International alleged abuse of protesters demanding the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, saying in a report Wednesday that hundreds of people have been beaten and detained under the interim government.
Malaysia: Muslim model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, will be caned next week, becoming the first woman in Malaysia to be given the punishment under Islamic law after pleading guilty to drinking beer, officials said.
Brazil: Father Clodoveo Piazza, an Italian priest who ran an award-winning shelter for homeless kids, was charged with sexually abusing boys and allowing visiting foreigners to exploit the children, prosecutors said Wednesday.