Niamey, Niger – A son of Moammar Gadhafi and three of his generals were trying to gain political asylum today in this poor, landlocked nation at Libya’s feet, after a more than 1,000-mile drive across the vast desert for what could be their only shot at refuge.
The generals are trying to pave the way for other Gadhafi supporters to follow, but one regime loyalist doubted that Gadhafi himself ever will, saying he would be comfortable enough living in the Sahara to stay there indefinitely.
Convoys carrying regime loyalists began arriving in Niger last week. The three generals, including the head of Gadhafi’s air force and two of his regional commanders, reached Niamey, the capital, overnight Monday. They were joined Tuesday by al-Saadi Gadhafi, government spokesman Marou Amadou confirmed.
Two Americans could be released
Tehran, Iran – Iran’s president predicted Tuesday that two Americans arrested while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border and sentenced to eight years in jail on espionage-related charges could be freed “in a couple of days” after a court set bail of $500,000 each.
The events appeared timed to boost the image of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad coinciding with his visit to New York next week for the U.N. General Assembly session. Last year, a third American was released on bail around the same time.
In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was “encouraged” by Ahmadinejad’s comments about freeing Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.
The families of Bauer and Fattal said in a statement that they are “overjoyed” by the reports from Iran.
Panel calls back younger Murdoch
London – James Murdoch is being called back before a committee of the British Parliament to further explain his involvement in the cellphone-hacking scandal that continues to shake the family-controlled News Corp. media empire.
Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee said Tuesday that it wants to re-question Murdoch to sort out conflicting evidence provided to the panel in its investigation of the ethics scandal at News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid, which is now closed. Its reporters allegedly listened to messages left on the cellphones of soccer stars, celebrities, crime victims, fallen soldiers and members of the royal family.
The affair has damaged the reputations of James Murdoch and his father, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and raised questions over whether the younger Murdoch should eventually run the media company. James Murdoch this year was elevated to deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., the No. 3 position in the company.