Factory collapses as rain lashes Egypt

Monday, December 13, 2010; A08

Assange says U.S. plans prosecution

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who angered Washington by releasing secret cables, said in a documentary Sunday that he faces prosecution by the United States and is disappointed at misuse of Sweden's justice system.

Assange has been in custody in Britain after a European arrest warrant was issued by Sweden, which wants to question Assange about two women's allegations made of sexual crimes. He has denied the allegations.

"I came to Sweden as a refugee publisher involved with an extraordinary publishing fight with the Pentagon, where people were being detained and there is an attempt to prosecute me for espionage," Assange said in an interview in the documentary, aired on Swedish public television. "So I am unhappy and disappointed with how the Swedish justice system has been abused," the Australian added in the documentary, made before his arrest.

Assange, 39, faces a fresh British hearing Tuesday. His Swedish lawyer has said he will fight extradition to Sweden.

- Reuters

Ruling party appears to lead in elections

Incumbent Prime Minister Hashim Thaci claimed victory Sunday in Kosovo's first general election since the province declared independence from Serbia, as an independent exit poll showed his Democratic Party of Kosovo ahead of its rivals by six percentage points.

"This is a vote for a European Kosovo," Thaci told the Associated Press. "It is a referendum for good governance."

According to the exit poll, conducted by Kosovo-based Gani Bobi Center, Thaci won 31 percent of the vote, with the Democratic League of Kosovo, a former coalition partner, trailing with 25 percent. If the results are confirmed, Thaci will have the upper hand in forming a government.

- Associated Press

Amsterdam says preschoolers may have been molested: Parents of dozens of preschool children in Amsterdam have been warned that their children may have been abused by a babysitter in one of the worst sexual abuse cases to come to light in the Netherlands. Authorities say the suspect, 27, was arrested after a tip from U.S. authorities about child pornography. The man's computers have been seized and he has confessed to dozens of sex crimes at two Amsterdam day-care centers over the past 18 months, Police Chief Herman Bolhaar said at a news conference Sunday. The man was identified as a Dutch citizen originally from Riga, Latvia. His name was not released, but police published his photo because he also worked as a freelance babysitter.

Somali pirates hijack cargo vessel off India: Pirates have captured a cargo vessel about 1,000 miles east of Somalia, the European Union's anti-piracy force said Sunday. The E.U. Naval Force said the attack took place 550 miles from the coast of India. Pirates launched the Saturday attack from two skiffs that were supported by a mother ship. The pirates fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the MV Renuar, a Panama-flagged, Liberian-owned cargo vessel. The E.U. Naval Force said the condition of the 24 Filipino crew members was not known.

Sudan to investigate video of woman being flogged: Sudan's judiciary opened an investigation into a video of a woman being flogged that has been widely circulated on the Internet, the state news agency reported Sunday. The video shows a woman in a voluminous cloak on her knees screaming and pleading with blue-uniformed policemen, identified as Sudanese, who take turns whipping her across the head and feet. The statement said the investigation would look into whether the punishment was implemented improperly. Articles 154 and 155 of the Sudanese penal code mandate flogging up to 100 lashes as a punishment for adultery or running a brothel, as well as up to five years in prison.

Egypt ready to reopen beaches after shark attacks: Egypt said Sunday that it was reopening its shores to tourists at a popular Red Sea resort after a series of shark attacks over the past two weeks, which killed one person and injured four. Three Russians and a Ukrainian suffered severe injuries when they were attacked off Sharm el-Sheikh, and on Dec. 5 a 70-year-old woman who was snorkeling died after a shark tore a piece out of her thigh and severed her forearm. "We have allowed the beaches to reopen on condition hotel owners adhere to new controls to ensure the safety of foreign tourists while diving or swimming," South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told reporters.

- From news services

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