March 28, 2013
united nations
Iran, N. Korea, Syria block arms treaty

Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption of a U.N. treaty that for the first time would regulate the multibillion-dollar international arms trade. An agreement required consensus by all 193 U.N. member states.

Other countries refused to let the treaty die. Mexico proposed that the drafting conference go ahead adopt it Thursday without the support of the three countries. Several countries backed the idea, but the Russian delegation objected. Kenya, speaking on behalf of the United States and several other countries, said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be asked to bring the treaty before the General Assembly for adoption as soon as possible.

— Associated Press

INDIA
U.S. delegation visits controversial leader

Members of Congress from Illinois, Wyoming and Washington state visited the controversial chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, on Thursday, in the first high-level American visit to the state in more than eight years.

The U.S. government has not granted Modi a visa because of allegations by international human rights groups that he looked the other way during a rampage by Hindu mobs in 2002 that left more than 1,000 Muslims dead.

But Modi’s business-friendly policies have attracted many foreign investors to Gujarat, including U.S. firms such as General Motors and Ford. And now, as the state leader’s rising domestic popularity appears set to catapult him into a larger national role in his Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the 2014 elections, his diplomatic isolation in the West is also ebbing.

“We extended an invitation to the chief minister to come to the United States and share with our colleagues some of what he has done here in the state,” Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who led a team of U.S. lawmakers and business leaders, told reporters in Gujarat.

Delegation members said they plan to ask the U.S. government to grant Modi a visa, according to Indian media reports.

— Rama Lakshmi

SOUTH AFRICA
Court rules Pistorius may travel abroad

Oscar Pistorius can leave South Africa to compete in international track meets, a judge ruled Thursday as he upheld the Olympic athlete’s appeal against some of his bail restrictions.

Pistorius’s agent said the ruling meant that this year’s world championships, in Moscow, could be “on the radar.” The international athletics body said that if Pistorius qualifies, it has no objections to his running.

Judge Bert Bam said Pistorius, who is charged with murder in the Valentine’s Day shooting death of his girlfriend, may travel, but with certain conditions, including returning his passport to a court when he returns home.

Bam also ended requirements that Pistorius be supervised by a probation official and forgo alcohol. Those and other rulings mean that Pistorius’s legal team succeeded in all its appeals.

— Associated Press

Mandela is hospitalized again: Nelson Mandela was back in the hospital for the third time in four months and reportedly responding well to treatment for a chronic lung infection. The 94-year-old former South African president has been vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment for fighting white racist rule in his country.

Central African coup leader garners army support: The Central African Republic’s army chiefs pledged allegiance to the country’s self-proclaimed president, Michel Djotodia, as the ex-rebel leader consolidated control four days after his fighters seized the capital, Bangui. Djotodia took over the resource-rich nation after thousands of his rebel fighters swept into the riverside city last weekend, ousting President Francois Bozize and triggering days of looting.

Italy’s Bersani fails to form government: Italian center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said talks to form a new government have failed, adding that some of the conditions set by other parties during nearly a week of talks were “unacceptable.” It will be up to President Giorgio Napolitano to decide the next step.

Bahraini medics acquitted: A defense lawyer in Bahrain said 21 medical personnel, most of them Shiites, have been cleared of charges linked to anti-government demonstrations, although cases remain open against two others. Arrests of dozens of doctors and nurses were part of the crackdown by the Persian Gulf kingdom’s Sunni rulers after majority Shiites seeking a greater political voice began an uprising in 2011.

Police: Berezovsky’s neck was bound: Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found dead on his bathroom floor with his neck bound and a similar piece of material attached to a shower rail, a police officer told a coroner’s inquest. Det. Insp. Mark Bissell of Thames Valley Police said there were no signs of a struggle but that the involvement of a third party “cannot be completely eliminated as tests remain outstanding.”

— From news services

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