WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal ruling on extradition

LONDON

WikiLeaks chief to fight ruling on extradition

Britain will honor Sweden's request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face sex-crime allegations, a British judge ruled Thursday. Judge Howard Riddle said Swedish prosecutors' request that Assange be forced to return to Stockholm was valid and dismissed arguments that the 39-year-old Australian's rights would be violated or that he would not receive a fair trial. Assange immediately said he would appeal the decision. Swedish authorities want to question Assange over allegations of sexual molestation, unlawful coercion and rape made in August by two Swedish women — accusations that Assange vehemently denies.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan

U.S. missiles said to kill 6 in Pakistan

Suspected U.S. missiles hit a house and car in a village in northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border Thursday, killing at least six people, the Associated Press said it was told by Pakistani intelligence officials. The strikes are said to have occurred within minutes of each other in the North Waziristan region. Unmanned drones frequently fire missiles at suspected al-Qaida and Taliban militants on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border. The attacks have emerged as a major weapon in Washington's campaign against militants that are blamed for attacks in Afghanistan as well as plots against the West.

HAVANA

Cuba sets date to try American

An American contractor jailed since December 2009 on suspicion of spying will go on trial in Cuba on March 4, U.S. diplomats and state-run Cuban media said Thursday. Cuban prosecutors are seeking a 20-year prison term for Alan Gross, a 61-year-old native of Potomac, Md., who was working for a firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development when he was arrested and sent to Havana's high-security Villa Marista prison. The U.S. government and Gross' family say he was distributing communications equipment to the island's Jewish community when he was arrested. Cuba says he was part of a multimillion-dollar plan to destabilize the government.

TEHRAN, Iran

Iran claims arrest of local CIA agent

Iran's Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said authorities have arrested an Iranian who was working for the CIA. Heidar Moslehi told state TV Thursday that the person had links with the U.S. spy agency and allegedly set up a network of aides to gather information during antigovernment protests last week. He did not identify the alleged CIA agent but said the person was arrested Feb. 14 after a period of surveillance. Iranian authorities occasionally announce the arrest of people with alleged ties to foreign intelligence agencies, particularly those of the U.S., Britain and Israel.

Elsewhere

Tokyo: Japan the world's 10th most populated country, said today that it has experienced its slowest population growth since its first census began in 1920. Japan's population stood at 128.05 million as of October 2010, up 0.2 percent from the previous census in 2005.

Mexico City: Wal-Mart de Mexico said Thursday that it will spend 19 billion pesos — $1.6 billion — to expand its operations in Mexico and Central America this year, with plans to open 445 stores.

Times wires

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal ruling on extradition 02/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 11:01pm]

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