In brief: Missionaries still jailed in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Ten U.S. Baptist missionaries charged with child kidnapping returned to jail Friday after failing to persuade a judge to grant them provisional release pending the outcome of their case, their lawyer said.
A judge scheduled three more days of hearings next week, starting Monday, defense attorney Edwin Coq told reporters.
The lawyer said that at least nine of the Americans – all but the group’s leader, Laura Silsby – clearly did not know they lacked the proper papers to remove 33 children from Haiti following the devastating earthquake, and they should be immediately released.
“They came to Haiti to help. They came in solidarity,” he said. “It is scandalous that they are being detained.”
Chinese official to visit N. Korea
SEOUL, South Korea – A senior Chinese official is traveling to North Korea today, a news report said, in what is seen as a mission to jump-start stalled international talks on ending its nuclear weapons programs.
Wang Jiarui, head of the liaison office of China’s ruling Communist Party, is to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and deliver a message from Chinese President Hu Jintao, South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported today, citing unidentified South Korean presidential officials.
Freed American arrives in China
BEIJING – An American missionary has arrived in Beijing after being freed by North Korea, which had detained him for illegally crossing its border from China on Christmas Day.
U.S. consular officials escorted Robert Park as he left the North Korean plane today at Beijing’s airport. U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson said Park will leave later today for the U.S.
Dalai Lama visit prompts censure
BEIJING – China has responded sharply to President Barack Obama’s plan to meet this month with Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, saying it is “resolutely” opposed to any such contact.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of pushing for Tibetan independence, which he denies.
Every U.S. president in the last two decades has met with the Dalai Lama.