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Doctor, Nurses Freed After Eight Years in Libya Jail


Libya – Bulgaria: Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor have arrived in Bulgaria after spending eight years in a Libyan prison on charges of infecting more than 400 children with the virus that causes AIDS.
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov pardoned the six moments after they arrived in Sofia today (Tuesday) on a French presidential jet.
The doctor and nurses were sentenced to death in 2004 after being convicted of infecting Libyan children. Those sentences were commuted to life in prison July 17th.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he will travel to Libya Wednesday. But he said neither France nor the European Union paid for the medics' release.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU and Libya could normalize relations now that the six are free. Earlier today, he and Mr. Sarkozy praised what they called Libya's humanitarian gesture in releasing the prisoners.

Iraq: Iraqi officials say talks between the United States and Iran have begun in Baghdad.
The United States says the talks will focus solely on the security situation in Iraq, despite tensions over American-Iranians detained by Tehran.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, will press Iran to change its behavior in Iraq during the talks.
Crocker is meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi.
The United States has accused Iran of supporting Shi'ite militias in Iraq -- a charge Iran denies.
McCormack says the United States has observed no change in behavior from Iran since the talks in May.

Afghanistan: South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is calling for calm as negotiations continue in Afghanistan to free 23 Korean hostages held by the Taleban.
Mr. Roh told a Cabinet meeting it is too soon to be either pessimistic or optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations.
Taleban militants in Afghanistan have given South Korean and Afghan officials until later (7 pm / 1430 UTC) today (Tuesday) to reach a deal to free 23 Taleban prisoners in exchange for the hostages.
Officials in Ghazni, where the hostages are being held, say tribal elders are trying to negotiate with the kidnappers.
The Taleban says it is also holding a German and four Afghans. The militants have changed their demands and threats since kidnapping the Koreans last Thursday, making negotiations difficult.

Blair – Middle East: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his new role as Middle East envoy, says there is "a sense of possibility" in the region.
At a brief press conference in Jerusalem today (Tuesday), after talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mr. Blair told reporters that his trip was a chance to listen, to learn and to reflect.
Mr. Peres said he could not think of a better person to handle the complicated situation.
Mr. Blair also plans to visit today (Tuesday), with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank, before heading back to Jerusalem for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Koreas Talks: North and South Korea have ended the first day of high-level military talks, with no apparent progress made on a variety of border security issues and economic cooperation projects.
Today's (Tuesday's) talks in the border village of Panmunjom finished earlier than expected. The Associated Press quotes a South Korean official as saying the two sides are scheduled to meet again Wednesday, before wrapping up the talks on Thursday. Details on why today's talks closed early were not provided.

Listen to our World News for details.

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