UNITED NATIONS: 3 countries block arms treaty
Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption Thursday of a UN treaty that would regulate the international arms trade, a pact that required agreement by all 193 UN member states. In an unexpected twist, Mexico proposed that the conference go ahead and adopt the treaty without the three countries, saying there no definition of "consensus." Several countries agreed, but the Russian delegation called the proposal "a manipulation of consensus" and objected. Kenya said "the will of the overwhelming majority is clear" and when the meeting closes a letter will be sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with a draft resolution asking him to bring the treaty before the General Assembly as soon as possible. Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott, the meeting chair, suspended the meeting after Iran, North Korea and Syria raised their nameplates signifying their refusal to join consensus. Iran and North Korea are under UN arms embargoes over their nuclear programs, while the Syrian government is in the third year of a civil war.
SOUTH AFRICA: Pistorius OKd to compete abroad
A judge eased bail restrictions on Oscar Pistorius and ruled Thursday that the athlete, who faces a murder trial for the shooting death of his girlfriend, can travel overseas to run. The international athletics body said that, if Pistorius qualifies, it had no objections to his running. Last year, Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics. His agent said soon after the ruling that the world championships in Moscow in August could be a possibility for him to return to the track on his carbon fiber blades.
Mandela back in hospital
Nelson Mandela is in the hospital again after a worrying recurrence of the lung infection he suffered in December, the South African president's office announced Thursday. It was the third time Mandela has been hospitalized since December.
BRITAIN: Berezovsky's neck was tied
Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky's neck was bound with a cord or other material used for binding when he was found dead on his bathroom floor Saturday, police said yesterday. Berezovsky lived in self-imposed exile in Britain.