Iran court says it is
considering bail for American hikers
the CNN Wire Staff
September 14, 2011 5:12 p.m.
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- The Iranian judiciary
said Wednesday it is considering a request for
setting bail in the case of two American hikers
convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years
"The two U.S. nationals accused of spying have
not been released and their attorneys' requests
for setting bail is being considered," the
The statement, posted on the judiciary's
website, seems to contradict accounts previously
given by the hikers' attorney and Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Shafiee said Tuesday his clients, Josh Fattal and
Shane Bauer, would be released from Tehran's Evin
prison after a $500,000 bail was paid for each of
On Wednesday, an Omani plane was en route to
Tehran carrying an Omani official who will be
working on any negotiation, a Western diplomat
But it was not clear whether the
hostages would be free to leave, the source
Fattal and Bauer have been held for more than
two years. They and a third hiker, Sarah Shourd,
were arrested July 31, 2009, after apparently
straying across an unmarked border between Iraq
and Iran while hiking in northern Iraq's Kurdish
region. They said they were unaware they had
crossed into Iran, but Iranian authorities said
they were spies who entered the country
Shourd, who is Bauer's fiancee, was released
last year for medical reasons, although
authorities said her case remains open.
Last month, Fattal and Bauer were convicted and
sentenced to eight years in prison -- five years
for espionage and three years for illegal entry,
according to Iranian media. Their appeal is
In an interview with NBC that aired Tuesday,
Ahmadinejad said the hikers could be released "in
a couple of days" but did not mention bail.
The president suggested there is a need for the
United States to release Iranians held in its
"OK, these two persons will be released,"
Ahmadinejad said. "Is it going to be over? We do
it, for example, in (a) humanitarian gesture. Is
it going to solve the problems? I hope so."
But in the statement posted Wednesday, the
judiciary said that "the case is currently being
considered by the presiding judge, and any related
news will be given by the judiciary."
source is entitled to provide news about this
case," it said.
The contradictory information may point to a
long-simmering rift in the Iranian government. In
Iran, the clerics, not the president, control the
courts. In addition, the hikers may have become a
political hot potato in Iran.
In April, a public spat erupted between
Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei. Top officials and media outlets
close to Khamenei criticized the president, and
several of his top aides were reportedly arrested,
one for "sorcery." On April 17, Ahmadinejad fired
Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi, and Khamenei
vetoed the move. The president publicly denied any
But public criticism has also targeted one of
Ahmadinejad's in-laws and chief of staff,
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. He and several others in
the government are considered by Iran's hardliners
to have strayed from the path of revolution and
the direction set by Khamenei, as well as the late
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the 1979
Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Mashaei's nationalistic statements and his
alleged contacts with the West, including the
United States, have caused the clerics and the
hardliners to launch an open campaign against him.
They are reluctant, however, to attack Ahmadinejad
directly, as Khamenei supported him after his
re-election, according to a political analyst.
The heads of two of Iran's three branches of
government, meanwhile, are brothers -- Ali
Larijani is the speaker of parliament, and
Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani is the head of the
judiciary. The two may well attempt to thwart what
they consider to be anti-cleric and
anti-revolutionary actions by Mashaei, who is
close to Ahmadinejad, the analyst
Separately, a human rights group issued a
statement criticizing Ahmadinejad for using the
hikers as political pawns.
"Ahmadinejad is trying to use the hikers'
release for political gains on the international
stage," said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
"No one should be fooled. The question is, why
were these young men deprived of their liberty for
so long on trumped-up charges and without proper
judicial proceedings? Moreover, why isn't anyone
held accountable for this injustice?"
The organization said it welcomed the news of
the hikers' possible release, but noted they have
been held for more than two years "without any
substantive evidence supporting the espionage
charges against them. Their detention and sudden
release is seemingly another example of
politically motivated arrests and prosecutions by
the Iranian judiciary and impunity for officials
that bend Iranian laws and violate human
Amnesty International issued a statement
Wednesday calling for the hikers' immediate
"The Iranian authorities must stop
treating Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal as pawns --
both in their dealings with the U.S. government
and in domestic political rivalries," said Philip
Luther, Amnesty International's deputy director
for the Middle East and North Africa.
"All available evidence and the authorities'
conduct throughout the trial suggests that the
Iranian authorities have known all along that
these men were not spies," he said. "Rather, it
appears they were probably held in order to try to
gain political concessions from the USA."
Libya NTC head Abdul Jalil
wants help battling Gaddafi
Mustafa Abdul Jalil says he believes Col
Gaddafi is planning attacks
The head of Libya's National Transitional
Council (NTC) has appealed for weapons as NTC
forces fight to capture parts of the country still
loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Mustafa Abdul Jalil told the BBC that the
ousted leader was in southern Libya and planning
A written message attributed to Col Gaddafi
appealed to the UN to stop "crimes" against his
Meanwhile, senior officials from Nato countries
are due to visit Tripoli.
"We say to the leaders coming tomorrow
(Thursday) that they will be safe," Mr Abdul Jalil
Earlier, the US said it was encouraged by the
increasing control the NTC was exercising over
security forces in the country.
Gaddafi loyalists still
control four areas, including Sirte on the
Mediterranean coast, and Bani Walid, south-east of
the capital Tripoli, as well as Jufra and
Mr Abdul Jalil said many pro-Gaddafi forces had
fled to Sabha in the southern desert.
"There will be fierce battles in Sabha with
equipment that we do not yet have, and we ask for
more equipment to retake these places," said Mr
He said Col Gaddafi had possession of "all the
gold" and would be planning attacks on cities, oil
fields and power plants.
Col Gaddafi has previously said he would rather
die than flee Libya.
NTC officials say members of the former
leader's inner circle took gold and cash with them
when they fled south across the border to Niger
Mr Abdul Jalil was speaking in his first BBC
interview since moving to Tripoli at the weekend
from the anti-Gaddafi stronghold of Benghazi.
He confirmed that the NTC would not move the
whole of its administration to Tripoli until the
last pockets of pro-Gaddafi resistance had been
Earlier, he held talks with senior US envoy
Jeffrey Feltman, who pledged Washington's support
for the NTC and said the US would reopen its
embassy in the capital as soon as possible.
"We remain encouraged by growing command and
control over security and police forces," said Mr
Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near
Deaths in attack near
kindergarten in China
Officials say four
killed in Gongyi in Henan province by axe-wielding
man in latest incident involving
Sept. 14, 2011
A man armed with an axe has killed a child and
three adults as they made their way to a
kindergarten in central China, officials say.
Police have detained Wang Hongbin, the
30-year-old attacker who allegedly carried out the
deadly assault in Henan province's Gongyi city
early on Wednesday morning, the city's government
said in a statement.
He also seriously wounded another child and
adult in the assault.
"According to locals, the suspect Wang Hongbin
has a history of mental health illness," the
Local news reported that the adult victims were
all parents taking their children to the nearby
The incident is the latest in a series of
violent attacks involving children that have
forced authorities to increase security around
China's schools and kindergartens.
At the end of August, eight pupils were hurt
when a staff member at a day care centre for
migrant workers' children in Shanghai went on a
The female worker used a box cutter to slash at
children aged between three and four years old at
the Little Happiness Star nursery in an eastern
suburb of Shanghai, according to local news
The suspect in that case was also believed to
have suffered from mental health problems.
Last year, at least five major attacks took
place at schools in China, killing 17 people,
including 15 children, and injuring more than 80
Two of the attackers were executed and two
others committed suicide. The suspect in the fifth
attack was sentenced to death in June 2010.
Studies have described a rise in the prevalence
of mental disorders in China, some of them linked
to stress as society becomes more fast-paced and
socialist support systems wither.
Mid-East shuttle dipomacy
ahead of Palestinian UN bid
Senior US and international envoys have begun a
fresh round of shuttle diplomacy to try to head
off a Palestinian bid for UN membership.
US diplomats Dennis Ross and David Hale, as
well as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
and Middle-East envoy Tony Blair are in the region
to try to revive stalled peace talks.
Palestinians are preparing a bid for UN
membership later this month.
Israel has warned of "harsh and grave
consequences" if the move goes ahead.
Mr Ross and Mr Hale arrived in Israel on
Wednesday and held talks with Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud
Barak, the US State Department said.
They were due to travel to the West Bank on
Thursday for talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud
Baroness Ashton also held talks with Mr
Netanyahu on Wednesday morning, and announced she
was extending her visit for further talks in the
"I hope that in the coming days what we will be
able to achieve together will be something that
enables the negotiations to start," she said.
Analysts say the 27-member EU could split over
the issue of Palestinian statehood if it comes to
a vote at the UN, with some states backing the
effort and others likely to oppose it.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on
Wednesday spoke to Mr Blair - who represents the
Quartet of international Middle East negotiators -
and to Baroness Ashton, state department spokesman
Mark Toner said.
"This is part of our intensive effort here to
find a way forward," he added.
The last round of peace talks between Israel
and the Palestinians broke down a year ago.
Since then, the Palestinians have launched a
campaign to join the UN as a full member state
with international recognition based on their 1967
borders with East Jerusalem as a capital.
The UN begins its annual General Assembly
general debate in New York on 21 September.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman,
speaking on Wednesday, warned of dire consequences
if the Palestinians went ahead.
"From the moment they pass a unilateral
decision there will be harsh and grave
consequences," he said.
"I hope that we shall not come to those harsh
and grave consequences, and that common sense will
prevail in all decisions taken," he added.
Some hardline Israeli politicians have called
for Israel to annex sections of the West Bank if
the Palestinians go ahead.
Hugh Grant, J.K. Rowling
among celebs in British phone-hacking
By the CNN Wire Staff
London (CNN) -- Hugh Grant and J.K. Rowling are
among dozens of celebrities given permission to
participate in a top-level inquiry into phone
hacking by British journalists, the judge leading
the investigation said Wednesday.
Leveson gave "core participant" status to
politicians, celebrities and the families of
murder victims "who have, or may have, suffered as
a consequence of press activity."
British Prime Minister David Cameron set up the
Leveson Inquiry in response to public fury at the
News of the World newspaper, which shut down this
summer after accusations its journalists had
illegally eavesdropped on people as they searched
Most British newspaper groups, including News
of the World publisher News International, also
got core participant status, as did its former
editor Rebekah Brooks.
So did the Metropolitan Police, which has been
accused of bungling the original investigation
into phone hacking. Officers are also accused of
taking bribes from journalists.
core participants can examine witnesses at the
Police are investigating both the phone-hacking
and bribery allegations, and lawmakers are
conducting their own separate probes.
A parliamentary committee investigating phone
hacking will recall News International chief
executive James Murdoch, whose company published
News of the World, a spokesman for the panel said
Former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton
is also being called to appear before the Culture,
Media and Sport Committee, the spokesman told
James Murdoch -- who gave evidence before the
parliamentary committee in July with his father
Rupert -- will face fresh questions from lawmakers
after Hinton testifies, provided that the latter
agrees to attend, the spokesman added.
A News Corp. spokesman told CNN James Murdoch
was "happy to appear in front of the committee
again to answer any further questions members
Lawmakers are seeking to determine whether
James Murdoch misled them about the scale of
illegal eavesdropping at News of the World in
The scandal surrounding
News of the World, which also involves accusations
of bribing police, has forced two top police
officers to resign and put Prime Minister David
Cameron under pressure for hiring another former
News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, to be his
Coulson resigned from that job earlier this
Hinton -- one of Rupert Murdoch's
longest-standing employees -- resigned as head of
News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit and publisher of The
Wall Street Journal in July. He was formerly chief
executive of News International, the British arm
of News Corp. which published News of the
Mark Lewis, a lawyer representing hacking
victims, and legal firm Farrer & Co. -- which
has represented News International in a number of
cases, including advising them on how much they
should pay out in settlements over hacking claims
-- have also been asked to appear on the same day
Lewis told CNN Tuesday that the mother of a
victim of the July 7, 2005, terror attacks in
London is now to join a civil case against the
News International newspaper group over alleged
phone hacking -- illegally accessing a person's
voice mail. Sheila Henry, whose son Christian
Small died in one of bomb blasts, will be the
sixth participant in the civil action, he
Lewis said he also is representing Natalie
Rowe, a former escort agency owner who sold a
story to the Sunday Mirror newspaper in 2005
alleging that Conservative Party politician George
Osborne had taken cocaine before he was elected.
He has always denied the claim.
Rowe believes she was the victim of phone
hacking after a story appeared at the same time in
News of the World, Lewis said. The Metropolitan
Police told Rowe in the past few weeks that her
details were listed in the documents of Glenn
Mulcaire, a private investigator used by News of
the World and jailed for hacking royal voice mail
in 2007, he added.
Australian broadcaster ABC
News aired an interview with Rowe on Monday that
suggested Osborne had helped Coulson get a job
within the Conservative Party in exchange for News
of the World giving a positive spin to the Rowe
story in an editorial piece in 2005.
Rowe is to sue News International for damages
over the alleged phone hacking, Lewis said, and
the case would "undoubtedly look at the future
relationship that existed between Andy Coulson and
the Conservative Party and the subsequent
A spokesman for Osborne, now chancellor of the
exchequer -- Britain's equivalent of a finance
minister -- denied the allegations when contacted
by CNN Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a group of
shareholders filed a lawsuit against News Corp. in
the United States alleging that the board has
failed in its duties to shareholders by allowing
Rupert Murdoch "to use News Corp as his own
"The board has not lifted a finger to engage in
any oversight of Murdoch's rule, even when it was
provided with clear and unmistakable warnings that
News Corp.'s business practices were not only
unethical, but also illegal," the lawsuit claims,
adding that Murdoch had sought to siphon value
away from the company for the benefit of his
family and friends.
The board did nothing about
alleged improper conduct at News of the World
despite phone-hacking allegations and court cases
being brought to its attention in 2002, 2007 and
2008, the lawsuit states.
Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee
quizzed four former senior News International
employees last week as they looked into James
Murdoch's role in the phone-hacking scandal.
Among them was ex-legal affairs director
Jonathan Chapman, who, under grilling, named
Hinton as the person who had approved a large
payment to Clive Goodman, the paper's royal
correspondent who was jailed over phone hacking,
after Goodman was dismissed from News of the
The other three to be questioned were former
News of the World editor Colin Myler, the paper's
ex-legal manager, Tom Crone, and its former top
human resources officer, Daniel Cloke.
In his testimony, Crone said Murdoch must have
known that phone hacking at the News of the World
was not confined to Goodman.
Murdoch would only have given Crone authority
to settle a lawsuit against News of the World if
he had understood that there had been more illegal
eavesdropping, Crone said.
ordered the best-selling Sunday paper closed in
July amid public fury at the accusation that the
voice mail of schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked
after she vanished in 2002. She was later found
London's Metropolitan Police opened a new
investigation in January into phone hacking and
police bribery. More than a dozen people have been
arrested. All are currently free on bail.
The Leveson Inquiry opened last week by taking
applications from people and organizations wanting
to participate, including News International.
The Metropolitan Police, several newspaper
groups and more than a dozen suspected victims of
phone hacking applied to be considered "core
Hinton had been with News Corp. for 52 years
before his resignation in July.
For much of that time, he played a critical
role in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. In a letter
to Murdoch at the time of his resignation, he
apologized for being "ignorant of" the alleged
misconduct at News of the World.
Bodies hanging from bridge
in Mexico are warning to social media
By Mariano Castillo,
September 15, 2011
(CNN) -- Social media users who denounce drug
cartel activities along the Mexican border
received a brutal warning this week: Two mangled
bodies hanging like cuts of meat from a pedestrian
A woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her
intestines protruding from three deep cuts on her
abdomen. Attackers left her topless, dangling by
her feet and hands from a bridge in the border
city of Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her
was hanging by his hands, his right shoulder
severed so deeply the bone was visible.
Signs left near the bodies declared the pair,
both apparently in their early 20s, were killed
for posting denouncements of drug cartel
activities on a social network.
"This is going to happen to all of those
posting funny things on the Internet," one sign
said. "You better (expletive) pay attention. I'm
about to get you."
The gruesome scene sent a chilling message at a
time when online posts have become some of the
loudest voices reporting violence in Mexico. In
some parts of the country, threats from cartels
have silenced traditional media. Sometimes even
local authorities fear speaking out.
Mexico's notoriously ruthless drug gangs
regularly hang victims from bridges and highway
And bloggers who specialize in sharing news
about trafficking have been threatened in the
past. But this could be the first time users of
such social networks have been targeted.
Investigator Ricardo Mancillas Castillo said he
had not encountered a threat against Internet
users in his four years based in Nuevo Laredo. But
the signs of torture -- the cuts, the
disembowelment -- were along the lines of what
officials are used to seeing in drug-related
In the case of the two victims found on the
Nuevo Laredo bridge Tuesday, their ears and
fingers were mutilated, said Mancillas, who works
for the public prosecutor's office.
no witnesses, and it is a nearly impossible task
to identify the perpetrators, he said.
Thirty-six hours had passed since the bodies
were found Tuesday morning, but no one had come to
claim them and they remained unidentified,
It will be nearly impossible to determine if
the two victims actually posted anything about
cartels on the Internet, as people don't usually
use their real names online, he said.
placards threatened those who report violent
incidents through social media networks. It listed
two blogs by name, Al Rojo Vivo and Blog del
They were signed "Z," a possible reference for
the Zetas cartel, which operates in the area.
Blog del Narco is a website that deals
exclusively with news related to drug violence in
Mexico. Its creator remains anonymous.
On the Al Rojo Vivo forum, where citizens can
make anonymous tips, one person wrote: "Don't be
afraid to denounce. It's very difficult for them
to find out who denounced. They only want to scare
One Twitter user echoed that sense of
defiance in light of the threats.
"Enough! If we shut up today, we will have lost
the ground that we have gained. This is the time
to show what we are made of," the owner of the
@QuestoyQuelotro Twitter account wrote.
In a statement sent to CNN, Blog del Narco said
its site is not dedicated to denouncing crime, as
are other sites.
"In addition, we are not in favor or against
any criminal group, we only inform as things
happen," the statement said.
More than 34,600 people have died in
drug-related violence since Mexican President
Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on cartels
in December 2006, according to government
statistics. Other reports have listed a higher
toll. The latest Mexican government tally was
released in January.
Heavy rains, floods kill
233, affect 5.5 million in Pakistan
the CNN Wire Staff
September 15, 2011
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Heavy rains and
flooding have killed at least 233 people in
Pakistan, a disaster agency spokesman said
Wednesday, as a weather forecast calls for more
rain over deluged parts of the country.
Seven people have died in the past 24 hours,
said Irshad Bhatti, a spokesman for the National
Disaster Management Authority.
At least 5.5 million people have been affected
by the flooding since August, said Zafar Iqbal
Qadir, chairman of the disaster authority.
Kristen Elsby, spokeswoman for the United
Nations children's fund, or UNICEF, said 2.7
million children are among the affected. She said
half of the 300,000 people in camps are
The flooding has inundated more than 4.5
million acres and damaged an estimated 80% of cash
crops in Sindh province, in southeastern Pakistan.
At least 1.19 million homes have been damaged, the
And the rains are not over.
"Scattered thunderstorm/rain with moderate
falls at isolated places is expected over most
parts of the country," according to a weather
forecast posted on the disaster authority's
Bhatti said there was no chance of the
floodwaters receding anytime soon. He said the
worst affected areas are the Sindh province cities
of Badin and Mirpurkhas.
The United States, Iran, Japan and China are
among the countries that have provided or pledged
aid, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan
reported this week.
The current disaster comes a year after
devastating floods displaced more than 20 million
More than 1,700 people died due to the floods
in 2010, Pakistani authorities said. Those floods
caused $9.7 billion in damage to homes, roads,
farms and other parts of the southwestern Asian
country, according to estimates from the World
Bank and Asian Development Bank.
NZ tuition fees among world
Sept. 15, 2011
Tuition fees at New Zealand universities are
among the highest in the world, according to a new
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development's (OECD) latest edition of Education
at a Glance looks at education across 42
The report analysed education at all levels in
34 OECD member countries as well as Argentina,
Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the
Russian Federation and South Africa in 2008 and
New Zealand had the seventh-most expensive
tuition fees for universities, with entrants
paying more than $3600 a year.
United States universities top the list,
charging more than $7300 every year and Korea,
United Kingdom and Japan fill out the top
Tertiary Education Union president Dr Sandra
Grey said the Kiwi rates indicate the tug between
the state versus students paying for education
"This is the trade-off between how much we feel
students should contribute to their own education
and how much we're prepared as taxpayers and as a
Government to put into those institutions."
The report also showed Kiwis are flocking to
some form of further training. New Zealand had the
fourth highest entry levels into university or
vocationally-orientated tertiary education.
"We've had a big push in New Zealand for what
is loosely called a mass tertiary market model
which is the right of open entry so people do, if
they want, have the opportunity to study," said Dr
Women are dominating the tertiary system, and
make up the majority of students and graduates in
the OECD. The report showed women tend to populate
the education, health, welfare, humanities and
arts fields, while men were the majority in
engineering, manufacturing and construction
The number of international students coming
here to study at university rose 2 per cent, but
Australia, Canada, France, Germany, US and the UK
continue to attract more than half the world's
Top 10 Most Expensive Tuition Fees
7. New Zealand
11 dead, 212 hurt after
trains, bus collide
September 14 2011
Buenos Aires - An Argentina train slammed into
a bus and was then struck by another train on
Tuesday in a huge rush-hour crash at a suburban
station that killed at least 11 people and injured
212, police said.
Firefighters worked frantically to pull people
out of the wreckage and rush the injured to
hospitals, officials said.
Police said they have confirmed the deaths of
11 victims. Officials said as many as 30 of the
injured were very badly hurt, suggesting the death
toll could climb substantially.
Argentina's transportation secretary Juan Pablo
Schiavi said most of the fatalities were among
people who had been aboard the bus, including the
The crash occurred at 7am (10.00 GMT) as
thousands of commuters were pouring into the
Flores district station in southwestern Buenos
Aires on their way to work.
“A train entering Flores station hits a bus
from the 92 Line, drags it and smashes it against
the platform,” said Gustavo Gago, a spokesman for
the Buenos Aires train operator.
“At that point, the train goes off the track,
invading other tracks in its path and is struck
laterally by a train that was entering Flores,”
from another direction, he said.
Newspaper seller Lucas Sanz, 31, whose stand is
10 metres away, said he heard “a deafening noise
and I saw the bus smashed into the train.”
“Terrified people began exiting the cars in all
directions,” he said. “The police arrived quickly
and began taking charge of the crowds that came in
Fire chief Omar Bravo said firefighters
“rescued people who were in the bus, in the train
and on the platform,” including a two-year-old
toddler who was found under the platform.
Rescuers succeeded after two hours in freeing
two people whose legs were trapped in the
wreckage, one of whom was a conductor on one of
Authorities were investigating reports that the
bus driver failed to heed a train crossing signal
and breached the lowered barriers meant to signal
that it is dangerous to cross the tracks.
“It was one of the saddest, most serious
accidents in recent years,” said Bravo.
In March 2008, 18 people were killed and 47
injured when a bus was hit by a train in Dolores,
212 kilometres south of Buenos Aires.
In February, a long distance train struck a
suburban passenger train, leaving four dead and
Argentina's deadliest train tragedy was in
1970, an accident that killed 200 people on Buenos
Aires' north end.
UBS discovers $2 billion
loss in rogue trade
By the CNN Wire
September 15, 2011
(CNN) -- Swiss banking giant UBS discovered
that rogue trading has cost it an estimated $2
billion, it announced Thursday.
The "unauthorized trading by a trader in its
investment bank" could cause the bank to record a
loss in the third quarter of this year, it
The loss would potentially be among the largest
costs ever to a bank in rogue trading. Rogue
trader Jerome Kerviel cost his bank, Societe
Generale, almost $6 billion, and was sentenced to
three years in prison last year.
UBS said no client positions were affected by
the loss announced Thursday, which is still being
Nick Leeson, the subject of the Ewan McGregor
movie "Rogue Trader," lost about $1.3 billion for
his bank, Barings, in 1995, forcing it to
Israel warns against
unilateral Palestinian move
By the CNN
September 14, 2011
Jerusalem (CNN) -- The unilateral declaration
of a Palestinian state would have "dire
consequences," Israel's foreign minister warned
Wednesday, a day after Palestinians said they
would take the proposal to the United Nations.
Avigdor Liberman did not elaborate in his
comments on Israel Radio, but said previous
Israeli concessions like the withdrawal from Gaza
had not resulted in peace.
Frustrated with stalled negotiations with
Israel, Palestinians plan to appeal to U.N. member
states to recognize their territories as an
But a United Nations report warned Wednesday
that the Palestinians are not yet ready
politically for statehood, even while it said the
government did carry out basic
"Government functions are now
sufficient for the functioning government of a
state," the U.N. Special Coordinator for the
Middle East Peace Process said, calling it
But Israeli occupation has contributed to
keeping Palestinian politics "stagnant," Robert
Serry's office warned.
"There is only so much that can be done in
conditions of prolonged occupation, unresolved
final status issues, no serious progress on a
two-state solution, and a continuing Palestinian
divide," Serry said.
The Palestinians currently have non-state
observer status at the United Nations.
The United States has said it will veto full
Palestinian statehood if the question comes to the
U.N. Security Council.
"It should not come as a
shock to anyone in this room that the U.S. opposes
a move in New York by the Palestinians to try to
establish a state that can only be achieved
through negotiations," State Department
spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said last week. "So
yes, if something comes to a vote in the U.N.
Security Council, the U.S. will veto."
Instead, the Palestinian Authority is expected
to go to the General Assembly, where it could get
"observer state" status, similar to the position
that the Vatican currently holds. A vote in its
favor is all but assured.
"Some of the members of the United Nations,
important members, it seems to me that they're
coming to the realization that this is not
theatric, because this is real," Palestinian U.N.
envoy Riyad Mansour said.
The upgraded status would give the Palestinians
greater access to U.N. agencies, including
possibly the International Criminal Court, where
it could make criminal claims against Israel.
The Obama administration has expressed concern
that Palestinian action at the United Nations
could intensify conditions on the ground and delay
already-stalled negotiations with Israel.
"Our objective is not to intensify with anyone
or to isolate anyone, or to de-legitimize anyone,"
Mansour said. "Our objective is to legitimize our
rights and to advance the cause of the two-state