Friday, the Association of Indian Diplomats, comprising retired Indian ambassadors, condemned the handcuffing and strip-search of India's Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade and urged the government to insist on withdrawal of all charges against her and an official apology by the US. In a statement, the association also said the government should insist on compensation by the US for the "mental agony and trauma" caused by the "illegal action" of the US authorities. Khobragade was handcuffed and strip-searched after her arrest on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her nanny.
President Obama has not given up the idea of trying terrorist suspects now housed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in United States courts. While signing a bill designed to make it easier to transfer Gitmo detainees to other countries, Obama again protested congressional restrictions on bringing some prisoners to the United States. Obama wrote in a signing statement attached Thursday to a new defense authorization bill, "The executive branch must have the authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests," . Congressional Republicans, other lawmakers, and local officials have objected to the idea of terrorism trials in the United States, citing security concerns and possible threats from terrorist groups.
Police in Ukraine on Friday accused five suspects detained over the savage beating of a reporter of links to the opposition, an allegation the opposition condemned as an attempt to deflect suspicions of government complicity. Tetyana Chornovil, 34, was chased down by car and beaten shortly after midnight on Wednesday, hours after posting pictures on her blog of a country home she said belonged to Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko. The attack threatened to breathe new life into more than a month of opposition protests in the capital, Kiev, over a decision by the government in November to spurn a landmark pact on closer ties with the European Union and turn instead to former Soviet master Moscow.
Israel plans to build 1,400 homes in its settlements in the occupied West Bank and will announce the projects next week after releasing a group of Palestinian prisoners, an Israeli official said on Friday. The Palestinians have said any further expansion of Israeli settlements on land they seek for a state could derail U.S.-brokered peace talks that resumed in July after a three-year break and are set to last until April.