PANAMA: Charges for N. Korean crew
Panama has filed charges against the captain and 35 crew members of a North Korean ship seized as it tried to pass through the Panama Canal while carrying obsolete weaponry from Cuba hidden under bags of sugar. Ramon Lopez of Panama's National Aeronautics Service said it was decided to stop the ship after intelligence came from the United States and other countries about a suspicious vessel. The captain and crew have been charged with "attempts against Panama's security" and "illegally transporting undeclared military equipment." Cuba has said it was sending the weapons, including missiles, two jet fighters and radar equipment, for repair in North Korea. Security officials described some tense moments after they boarded the ship July 10. At the international port of Manzanillo, the captain and the crew started to act aggressively, said Lopez. He said the captain came out of a bathroom holding a knife against his neck, threatening to cut himself. A sailor was able to neutralize the captain, Lopez said.
ITALY: Trial put off until September
The captain of the capsized Costa Concordia asked the judge at his manslaughter trial Thursday to order tests on the cruise liner's wreckage to determine why electrical and other systems failed after the vessel struck a reef off an island in 2012, killing 32 people. The outcome of the request from Francesco Schettino won't be known until at least September. Judge Giovanni Puliatti adjourned the trial until Sept. 23.
WEST BANK: Palestinians cast doubt
A high-level meeting of senior Palestinian leaders called to discuss U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's peace proposal ended Thursday without a decision, casting a cloud of uncertainty over months of mediation efforts. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened the gathering after meeting with Kerry earlier in the week. The Arab League decided Wednesday to endorse Kerry's proposal. The Palestinians said, however, that potential obstacles lay ahead