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In brief: U.S. calls for review of Lockerbie release

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has asked the governments of Scotland and Britain to review the decision last summer to release the Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie airliner bombing.

In letters to U.S. lawmakers, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. was encouraging Scottish and British authorities to review the circumstances leading to the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. Four senators wrote Clinton last week, questioning whether oil giant BP played a behind-the-scenes role in the decision.

“That al-Megrahi is living out his remaining days outside of Scottish custody is an affront to the victims’ families, the memories of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing, and to all of those who worked tirelessly to ensure justice was served,” Clinton wrote.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A last-minute legislative compromise has cleared the way for a November election to fill the late Robert C. Byrd’s U.S. Senate seat.

The measure, which sets an Aug. 28 primary and Nov. 2 general election, was passed 83-7 by the House and 29-0 by the Senate.

The compromise allows Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito to run both for Byrd’s seat and a sixth U.S. House term. She’s considered the GOP’s top prospect for winning the seat.

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Economic and Social Council voted Monday to accredit the U.S.-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission after strong lobbying by the Obama administration.

President Barack Obama, in a statement issued by the White House, welcomed the vote as an “important step forward for human rights.” With the group’s inclusion, he said “the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.”

The group will now be able to attend U.N. meetings, submit statements and collaborate with both government and U.N. agencies, officials said.

Former strongman elected to presidency

PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Former dictator Desi Bouterse was elected president by parliament Monday, following weeks of jostling by opponents who sought to stop a convicted drug trafficker and ex-strongman accused of killing political opponents from returning to power.

His eyes brimming with tears, Bouterse thanked supporters outside parliament after he secured 36 votes in support of his presidency, thanks to a small party’s decision to back him in exchange for three Cabinet positions.