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Scottish Parliament to Review Bomber Release


SCOTLAND-LOCKERBIE: Scotland's parliament has called an emergency meeting on Monday to question the decision to give compassionate release to the Lockerbie bomber. The parliament wants to grill Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill about his decision to release Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people. Opposition parties are planning a confidence vote on the decision, with a complete government shakeup possible. There was intense criticism of Megrahi's release recently. US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation all expressed outrage. There were also threats by US citizens to boycott Scottish goods and services.
Megrahi returned to Libya on Thursday to a hero's welcome. He is said to be planning to write a "tell-all book" disclosing new information about Britain's deadliest terrorist attack.

GREECE-FIRES: Firefighters in Greece have resumed their battle against wildfires outside Athens, using planes and helicopters to drop blankets of water on spreading blazes. The operation resumed after dawn Monday, with more than 2,000 firefighters working to save homes northeast of the capital. Officials say the fires continue to spread toward communities, despite a push to extinguish the blazes during a lull in high winds, which are expected to increase during the day. Thousands of Greeks spent Sunday night outside of their homes after fleeing the inferno. Residents of Agio Stefanos, a community north of Athens, were ordered out of their homes as the fire bore down on their town. The flames started Friday and have spread across an area stretching 50 kilometers.

US-CIA: A major U.S. newspaper reports the U.S. Justice Department is recommending that some cases of alleged prisoner abuse by the Central Intelligence Agency be pursued in court. The New York Times cites an unnamed source saying the Office of Professional Responsibility made the recommendation to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. He is now considering whether to appoint a prosecutor to investigate the CIA's interrogation practices during the administration of President George W. Bush.
The move could expose CIA employees and agency contractors to criminal prosecution for alleged mistreatment of terror suspects.
But President Barack Obama has said he wants to leave the issue in the past to avoid getting his administration's agenda bogged down in controversies of the past.

AFGHANISTAN: NATO says two of its soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan late Sunday, the same day America's top military officer said the situation in the country is "serious and deteriorating." In a televised interview (with CNN), the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said the Taliban insurgency has become more sophisticated in its tactics.
In a separate interview, Admiral Mullen said he is worried about falling American public support for the Afghan war. He said the U.S. military is focused on preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and that its current strategy in Afghanistan is intended to disrupt and defeat al-Qaida, the Taliban and their extremist allies.


NOKOR NUCLEAR: A senior U.S. diplomat says Washington is cooperating closely with South Korea to ensure UN sanctions against North Korea are carried out. U.S. envoy Philip Goldberg said Monday that the resumption of a South Korean tourism venture in North Korea and the expansion of a jointly run industrial zone probably would not interfere with enforcement of UN sanctions against the North. After meetings with South Korean officials Monday in Seoul, Goldberg said the United States will keep pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program.
Goldberg has already visited Singapore and Thailand, and plans to travel to Tokyo after his stop in Seoul as part of a tour of the region.

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