Jerusalem – In a surprise deal announced Wednesday, Hamas will give Israel a videotape providing a first glimpse of a captured Israeli soldier to prove he is alive in return for the release of 20 Palestinian women held in Israeli prisons.
It marked the first tangible sign of progress in more than three years of talks aimed at a larger prisoner exchange, and it could lead to an end to a crippling blockade of the impoverished, war-torn Gaza Strip.
Israel said the video-for-prisoners exchange would take place Friday.
Up to now, the only signs of life from the soldier, Gilad Schalit, were several letters and an apparently carefully scripted audiotape, released just months after he was captured in June 2006.
Bishop charged with child porn
Toronto – A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw his diocese’s settlement with victims of sex abuse is facing child pornography charges, police said Wednesday.
Bishop Raymond Lahey had his computer and other unspecified media seized after authorities found something troubling during a random search of his laptop computer at Ottawa’s airport on Sept. 15.
Police charged Lahey, 69, with possession and importation of child pornography 10 days later.
Inquiry splits fault for Georgia war
Moscow – An independent inquiry ordered by the European Union has concluded that Georgia violated international law and triggered last year’s war with Russia by attacking the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
In a report released Wednesday that could redefine public views of the five-day war, the European mission also found that Russia’s invasion of Georgia after the attack was illegal and unjustified, and that Russian-backed Ossetian militias conducted ethnic cleansing of Georgian villages.
“There is no way to assign overall responsibility for the conflict to one side alone,” the report concluded. “They all have failed, and it should be their responsibility to make good for it.”