April 17, 2007 in Nation/World

Olmert open to prisoner exchange

The Spokesman-Review
 

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday he was open to a “reasonable exchange” of Palestinian prisoners in return for a captured soldier but the Palestinians’ current demands are too high.

In an interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp. TV, Olmert also said Israel is ready to meet Saudi Arabia over its Mideast peace plan, calling on the Saudis to take the lead in fighting extremism in the Arab world.

The prime minister declined to say how many Palestinians his country would be willing to exchange for Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas-linked militants since June, 2006. But he said “it definitely will not be 1,400,” the reported size of the list Israel recently received from Shalit’s captors.

Israel currently holds 9,221 Palestinians, according to the prisons authority.

BRASILIA, Brazil

Indians camp out for land-use voice

Indians from across Brazil pitched black plastic tents in front of government buildings Monday to demand that officials discuss with them infrastructure projects they claim could have a negative impact on their ancestral lands.

About 1,500 Indians from 100 tribal groups, some in traditional dress, participated in the “Free Land Encampment” on the Esplanade of the Ministries, a grassy strip separating government agencies in Brasilia, the capital of Latin America’s biggest country.

Jecinaldo Cabral, a coordinator of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon, said government projects like dams and hydroelectric plants must be discussed with Indians because they could flood ancestral lands and destroy rivers and Indian fishing waters.

The Indians will camp out in Brasilia until Thursday – National Indian Day – when they hope to meet with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

NAIROBI, Kenya

Police investigate assassination story

Police questioned two top editors and two directors of Kenya’s oldest newspaper for seven hours Monday about a front-page report that an unnamed Cabinet minister was trying to arrange the assassination of former President Daniel arap Moi’s son.

The Standard newspaper described what it said was a taped confession by the would-be assassin in Monday’s story. The alleged target of the hit, Gideon Moi, is an opposition member of parliament representing the Baringo Central region in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province.

The motive involved financial documents, according to the newspaper.

Gideon Moi could not be reached for comment.

“I am not aware of such a plot,” Internal Security Minister John Michuki said.

Before going in for questioning, the paper’s Deputy Chairman Paul Melly said he and his colleagues went to the police in response to a summons, and said they would provide investigators with a copy of the taped confession.


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