ENGLAND London — U.S.-style televised justice is gaining traction in Britain. Britain’s Ministry of Justice said a proposal to allow cameras to broadcast cases from England’s Court of Appeal has been approved by lawmakers in Britain’s lower house. British Courts Minister Helen Grant said in a statement Thursday that “justice must be seen to be done, that is why we are introducing limited television broadcasting in courts from next month.” Long banned in most parts of the U.K. by the country’s tradition-heavy justice system, televised trials have made small but significant inroads.
GREECE Athens — Greece police are looking for a drug-smuggling gang that abandoned an 1,800-pound stash of marijuana on a southern beach. A police statement said the drugs were found early Thursday near the port town of Kyllini, in the Peloponnese region about 150 miles southwest of Athens. The marijuana was packaged in 56 bundles. Police are investigating whether a vehicle found nearby had been used by the unknown smugglers. Police said the drugs did not appear to have been washed ashore, but it was unclear whether they had been brought in by sea or were supposed to have been picked up by boat and shipped elsewhere.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said Thursday it was cooperating with prosecutors in the Dominican Republic who are investigating its ambassador for alleged sexual abuse of teenage boys, an explosive case that has raised legal questions about the Holy See’s responsibilities when accused priests come from within its own ranks. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, denied the Vatican was trying to shield Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski by recalling him to Rome before Dominican prosecutors had announced their investigation. The Holy See recalled Wesolowski on Aug. 21 and relieved him of his job as apostolic nuncio after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, told Pope Francis about the allegations in July.
ITALY Milan — A former CIA base chief has asked Italy’s president for a pardon of his conviction in absentia of kidnapping a terror suspect as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, apologizing for the strain the case has put on U.S.-Italy relations and citing Italy’s pardon of another American convicted in the case. “I never intended to disrespect Italy’s sovereignty — quite to the contrary,” Robert Seldon Lady, a former U.S. consular officer based in Milan, wrote in the four-page letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. President Giorgio Napolitano’s office confirmed receipt of the letter, and said the request had been forwarded to the office for justice affairs.
SOMALIA Mogadishu — An American who became one of Somalia’s most visible Islamic rebels and was on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list with a $5 million bounty on his head was killed Thursday by rivals in the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab, militants said. The killing of Omar Hammami, an Alabama native known for his rap-filled propaganda videos, may discourage other would-be jihadis from the U.S. and elsewhere from traveling to Somalia, terrorism experts said. Hammami, whose nom de guerre was Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, or “the American,” was killed in an ambush in southern Somalia following months on the run after falling out with al-Shabab’s top leader, the militants said.
CUBA Havana — Cubans tied yellow ribbons to homes, trees and lampposts across the capital Thursday, in an organized mass campaign to press for the return of several espionage agents imprisoned in the United States on the 15th anniversary of their arrest. By using a symbol with deeply held cultural significance for many Americans, the campaign aims to raise support for the so-called Cuban Five in the United States where the public is largely unaware of their case, even if it’s a daily cause celebre in Cuba. “The symbolism of the yellow ribbon has a strong impact in the mind of Americans. It is a message of love that appeals to emotions,” said Rene Gonzalez, the only one of the Cuban Five who has been released from prison.
PUERTO RICO San Juan — Puerto Rico can now boast it is home to the world’s smallest dog — at least when it comes to height. The brown Chihuahua named Miracle Milly is shorter than a soup can, standing at 3.8 inches tall when measured from backbone to paw, Guinness World Records announced Thursday. She is nearly 2 years old, weighs roughly 1 pound and is known for often sticking out her tiny tongue when someone takes her picture.
COLOMBIA Bogota — Colombia’s government has refused to register as a trademark the full name of Pablo Escobar, the country’s most notorious criminal. The cocaine kingpin’s widow and two children, who live in Argentina, had appealed an earlier rejection. The Commission of Industry and Commerce said Thursday that granting a trademark would be immoral and subvert public order. It said the name Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria is associated with a dark period of violence in Colombia that claimed thousands of lives as he fought extradition to the United States.
IRAN — Israel on Thursday expressed skepticism of Western hopes that the election of a new Iranian president could reduce tensions over the country’s nuclear program, asserting that Tehran remains committed to building nuclear arms. The Iranian envoy lashed back at a meeting of the U.N nuclear agency, accusing Israel of making “unsubstantiated allegations” about a nonexistent nuclear weapons program meant to divert attention from Israel’s own nuclear weapons arsenal. Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, has said he wants to ease international confrontation over his country’s nuclear program, and the United States and other Tehran critics indicated this week that they are hopeful that his words will translate into action. U.S. envoy Joseph Macmanus urged the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency board to seize this opportunity.
FROM WIRE SERVICES