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theSun | THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20 2008 9

news without borders

Obama taps first


African-American AG
WASHINGTON: US State departments.”
president-elect Barack Holder faces Senate
Obama has tapped confirmation hearings
longtime lawyer Eric in order to officially
Holder to be attorney take on the post.
general, who if Holder, 57, is
confirmed would a partner in the
become the first Washington law
African-American firm of Covington
to hold the post, and Burling. He has
US media said on served as a superior
Tuesday. court judge in the
Holder (pix), who nation’s capital and was
served as deputy attorney named the capital’s US
general under former attorney by former president
president Bill Clinton, has Clinton before taking the post of
accepted Obama’s invitation to deputy attorney general under
head the Justice Department, Janet Reno in 1997.
Newsweek magazine said, Newsweek reporter Michael
citing legal sources close to the Isikoff, who broke the story, said
presidential transition. Holder “lives and breathes the
The report was later culture of the Justice Depart-
confirmed by NBC news. ment”. “He served for years
“Obama offered Holder in the public integrity section
the job and he accepted,” of the Justice Department,
Newsweek said, adding that “the and prosecuting political
announcement is not likely until corruption,” Isikoff said.
after Obama announces his The current US attorney gen-
choices to lead the Treasury and eral is Michael Mukasey. – AFP

Cheney indicted by Texas grand jury


WASHINGTON: A local Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick
Cheney and former US attorney general Alberto Gonzales on charges con-
nected to the alleged abuse of inmates in a private prison system, Texas
newspaper Brownsville Herald reported on its website on Tuesday.
It said the grand jury in Willacy County, hearing evidence presented
by District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, returned several counts against
Cheney and Gonzales as well as Texas officials including a state senator
and state district judges.
The indictment cites Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, a ma-
jor brokerage and mutual fund firm with financial interests in private prison
companies that run federal detention centres, the paper reported.
It charged that Cheney had a conflict of interest and was responsible
for “at least misdemeanour assaults” on detainees. Gonzales, who was
US attorney general from 2005-07 under US President George W. Bush,
is charged with using his influence to halt an investigation into alleged
abuses at the prisons, the Herald reported. – dpa

Biggest active underground thermal lake


BUDAPEST: An underground thermal lake Hungarian officials say
is one of the biggest in the world was unveiled on Tuesday after
its discovery below a Turkish bath in the capital Budapest.
“This is the biggest active, water-filled thermal water cave and
hall in the world,” speleologist Sandor Kalinovits, one of the lake’s
discoverers, said during a tour of the cave below one of Budapest’s
more affluent residential districts.
The lake, discovered earlier this year, lies in a subterranean
hall 86m long, 27m wide and 15m high and belongs to the Janos
Molnar cave. Budapest is built above a labyrinth of caves filled
with warm thermal water and many have only partially been
explored. City officials plan to apply to Unesco to declare the cave
system a World Heritage Site. – Reuters

Ban expresses concern over Gaza


NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Israel’s prime minis-
ter on Tuesday he was deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation
in Gaza and urged Israel to allow UN aid workers into the territory.
“The secretary-general today telephoned Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert to express his deep concern over the consequences of
the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza,” the UN press office
said in a statement. “He strongly urged the prime minister to facilitate
the freer movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies and of
concerned United Nations personnel into Gaza.”
Olmert denounced the continuing rocket fire into Israel from Gaza,
but “agreed to look seriously into the urgent matter” raised by Ban, the
statement said. – Reuters

Chen out of hospital


TAIPEI: Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian was released
from hospital and sent back to a detention centre yesterday, as he
entered the second week of a hunger strike to protest his arrest
on graft allegations.
Chen left the hospital by ambulance while dozens of support-
ers gathered and honked air horns as he was driven back to the
detention centre. Doctors said earlier yesterday that Chen’s condi-
tion had visibly improved although he was still refusing to eat.
Chen was rushed to hospital on Sunday suffering from dehy-
dration, four days after going on hunger strike in protest at what
he says are politically-motivated allegations against him.
Chen, whose pro-independence stance in office set him against
Beijing, has repeatedly accused the island’s China-friendly govern-
ment of being behind the allegations. – AFP