In brief: Activist ordered to mental institution
Moscow – For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a Russian court on Tuesday ordered an opposition activist to be sent to a mental institution for compulsory treatment.
Mikhail Kosenko, 38, who spent more than a year in preliminary detention on charges of taking part in a violent demonstration, was ordered by the Zamoskvoretsky district court of Moscow to undergo mental treatment at a prisonlike mental institution for an undefined period.
Kosenko, one of a group of 28 opposition activists facing similar charges, was arrested shortly after an opposition rally near the Kremlin on May 6, 2012, the day before Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for his third term as president.
N. Korea reactivates reactor, report says
Seoul, South Korea – North Korea has restarted its plutonium reactor in Yongbyon and is producing nuclear energy at the site, South Korea’s intelligence agency reported Tuesday.
The report to Seoul lawmakers by a National Intelligence Service official confirmed warnings last month by nuclear watchdogs at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
The North had idled the graphite-moderated reactor at Yongbyon in 2007 under an agreement it reached in talks with five major nations to get food aid for standing down on its pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed in May to resume his isolated nation’s quest for a nuclear arsenal after a sharp increase in acrimony between the two Koreas in the wake of intensified U.N. sanctions.
Argentine president undergoes surgery
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, underwent a successful surgery Tuesday in which doctors removed blood that collected in the tissue outside her brain, a government spokesman said.
The collection of blood, called a subdural hematoma, was a result of a fall that the 60-year-old Fernandez took in August. When the hematoma was discovered Saturday, doctors simply ordered her to rest. But a day later, she reported a tingling in her arm, and the decision was made to operate.
Hospital officials said Fernandez was recovering in an intensive-care unit Tuesday. She will likely remain hospitalized for a week and then spend 30 days recuperating in the official presidential residence.
Turkey eases rules on Islamic head scarves
Ankara, Turkey – The Turkish government decreed Tuesday an end to a 90-year-old ban on wearing Islamic head scarves and veils in civil service jobs, threatening to rekindle the secular vs. religious showdown that ignited weeks of unrest in late spring.
The ban, imposed at the dawn of modern Turkey’s statehood, was intended to separate religious practices from government operations and will remain in effect for law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and military personnel.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan justified the departure from modern secular behavior in state offices as removing an obstacle to employment of women who choose to veil themselves in public, according to conservative Islamic tradition. The edict is seen by critics as another attempt to reinstate the Islamic symbols and practices eradicated by Turkish founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1925 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.