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Afghanistan's top banker, in fear for his life, flees to United States

KABUL, Afghanistan

Top banker, in fear for his life, leaves country

Afghanistan's top banker, who is partly blamed for the failure of the nation's largest private lender, has fled the country for the United States, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Monday. Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar said Abdul Qadeer Fitrat didn't notify the Afghan government of his resignation. But he said that Fitrat was named in a report sent Monday to the Afghan attorney general's office as someone possibly responsible for the failure of Kabul Bank. Fitrat said from a northern Virginia hotel that he left the country because his life had been threatened.

CARACAS, Venezuela

General: Chávez's health improving

Venezuela's defense minister says the health of President Hugo Chávez is improving following emergency surgery in Cuba. Army Gen. Carlos Mata Figueroa tells the state-run Ciudad Caracas newspaper that Chávez is "genuinely recovering" following surgery for a pelvic abscess 16 days ago. Officials have been trying to damp speculation about the 56-year-old president's condition caused by his long absence.

Mexico City

Weather system bears watching

An area of low pressure over the Bay of Campeche is being watched by the National Hurricane Center and has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next two days. The area poses no threat to Florida and is drifting toward eastern Mexico and south Texas. Upper-level winds are not conducive to significant development now, but the winds are forecast to become more favorable to development during the next day or so. A hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the area this afternoon.

NEW ORLEANS

Officers' trial in shootings opens

New Orleans police officers decided to "shoot first and ask questions later" when they gunned down two unarmed people and wounded four others on a bridge in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, a federal prosecutor said Monday during opening statements. The jury heard a vastly different account of the encounter on the Danziger Bridge from lawyers for five current or former officers charged in the shootings. Defense attorneys said their clients felt threatened and were justified in using deadly force.

JAPAN

Tainted water may escape nuke plant

A water recycling system at Japan's damaged nuclear power plant was halted for repairs Monday after a brief run that had been hailed as major progress in restoring control and improving conditions at the crippled plant. Tons of fresh water have been pumped to the plant to cool its reactors, a process that taints the water with radiation. About 110,000 tons of tainted water have accumulated and could overflow by early July if the recycling system fails or other storage options are not enough.

Elsewhere

Germany: A 26-year-old German man dubbed the "cannibal killer" after confessing to eating the flesh and drinking the blood of one of his teenage victims was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Bolivia: At least 28 passengers died and another 10 were injured when a bus fell down a ravine near the southern town of Tarija from Villazon, on the Argentine border, police said Monday.

Times wires

Afghanistan's top banker, in fear for his life, flees to United States 06/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 12:04am]

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