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Britain offers apology to child migrants

LONDON

Britain offers apology to child migrants

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized Wednesday to the tens of thousands of poor British children forcibly shipped to former colonies such as Australia. Brown said the country was sorry for the "shameful" and "misguided" child migrant program of the 1920 to 1960s, in which an estimated 150,000 British children were sent to distant colonies. The programs were intended to ease pressure on British social services and provide the children with a fresh start, but many children ended up in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused, or were sent to work as farm laborers. About 7,000 survivors of the migration program still live in Australia.

Madrid

Detainees sent to Spain, Albania

The United States got help from Europe on Wednesday in its drive to shut down Guantanamo Bay as Spain accepted a former inmate from the prison for terror suspects and the tiny Balkan nation of Albania took in three more. Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba identified the man as a Palestinian and reiterated that Spain will take in up to five ex-Guantanamo inmates. The U.S. Justice Department issued a statement expressing gratitude to Spain and said there are now 188 inmates being held in Guantanamo. Albania's Interior Ministry said the three former Guantanamo detainees — a Tunisian, an Egyptian and a Libyan — arrived Tuesday.

JERUSALEM

Hamas leader's son an Israeli spy

The son of one of Hamas' founders says in a new book that he was a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing intelligence that helped prevent attacks against Israelis. Mosab Yousef's memoir, Son of Hamas, is being published next week in the United States, and highlights of the book and an interview with the author appeared Wednesday in Israel's Haaretz daily. His father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, a founder of the Islamic militant group in the 1980s and still a senior figure, issued a statement saying his son was "blackmailed" by Israeli authorities during a stint in jail in 1996.

BERLIN

Protestant leader quits after DUI stop

Germany's top Protestant cleric resigned on Wednesday after she was caught driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit. Margot Kaessmann, who was elected in October as the first woman to head Germany's Lutheran church, said she was quitting both that post and her job as bishop of Hannover immediately. "I made a serious mistake that I regret deeply," Kaessmann, 51, said in a statement at a televised news conference. A test showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.154 percent. The legal limit is 0.05. She faces the loss of her driver's license for at least several months and a fine.

Elsewhere

Mexico: Gunmen stormed a rural town in southern Mexico and killed 13 people, while the U.S. government warned Americans against traveling to cities in Oaxaca, a Pacific coast state where shootouts have left 19 people dead over three days.

Italy: An oil spill that fouled a small river in the north reached the Po River on Wednesday, and officials warned of an ecological disaster as they scrambled to contain the sludge before it contaminated Italy's most important river.

Times wires

Britain offers apology to child migrants 02/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 11:18pm]
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