Wednesday's intriguing people
December 1st, 2010
11:01 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Jake Glaser

More than 25 years ago, Jake Glaser's mother unknowingly infected him in utero with HIV. His older sister, Ariel, also had been accidentally infected.

Elizabeth Glaser, the wife of TV actor Paul Michael Glaser, became the nation's best-known AIDS activist, making a dramatic speech at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

Both she and Ariel died of the disease.

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Five takeaways from leaked documents on Iran
November 29th, 2010
09:35 PM ET

Five takeaways from leaked documents on Iran

Iran and the approaches that governments are taking with the Islamic Republic are major topics in some of the sensitive U.S. diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks this week. The documents deal with, among other things, Iran's ties with North Korea and Arab states' concerns about their Persian neighbor. Here are five key things to know about the Iran-related documents and the effects of their release.

IRAN-NORTH KOREA TIES

Whether North Korea has strengthened its ties with Iran and recently sold Iran its most powerful missiles depends on whether you believe U.S. intelligence or Russian intelligence.

In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks and dated February 2010, U.S. officials tell their Russian counterparts that North Korea has sold Iran 19 advanced missiles based on Russian design and capable of hitting targets in Western Europe.

The cable says the Russians dismiss the U.S. intelligence reports and call them unreliable.

"There is no evidence for this and concealment of such a transfer would be impossible," the cable quotes a Russian official as saying.

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Filed under: Iran • Iraq • Julian Assange • Saudi Arabia • WikiLeaks
Latest updates: WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables release
November 29th, 2010
06:42 PM ET

Latest updates: WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables release

WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website known for leaking state secrets, released on Sunday its latest batch of controversial documents. It has posted the first of what it says will be more than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

LATEST

[Updated at 10:14 p.m.]

- Ecuador has asked WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange to come to Quito and discuss documents regarding Ecuador and other Latin American countries. Ecuador expelled two U.S. diplomats in February 2009, accusing them of meddling in its internal affairs - allegations the State Department denied. The foreign ministry in Quito suggested Assange, an Australian citizen, apply for residency there.

- WikiLeaks documents posted on the websites of the Guardian and the New York Times suggest China is losing patience with its long-time ally North Korea, with senior figures in Beijing describing the regime in the North as behaving like a "spoiled child." According to cables obtained by WikiLeaks and cited by the Guardian, South Korea's vice-foreign minister Chun Yung-woo said he had been told by two senior Chinese officials (whose names are redacted in the cables) that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.

- The world's military shopping list is being exposed through the WikiLeaks publications. State-of-the-art missiles and American military helicopters are a frequent topic of discussion in the released diplomatic cables, which also show a keen interest in what weaponry Iran has and how to defend against them.

- From 2005 to 2009, U.S. diplomats regularly reported that Brazil tried to distance itself from what it saw as an "overly aggressive" American war on terror, and was highly sensitive highly to public claims suggesting that terrorist organizations have a presence in the country, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. But Brazil's counter-terrorism policy seemed to shift in 2009, with a cable detailing the government's strategy to deter terrorists from "using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds."

- Former President George W. Bush told a forum at Facebook's headquarters Monday that the document leak is "very damaging," adding that it may significantly hurt Washington's image abroad. "It's going to be very hard to keep the trust of foreign leaders," the nation's 43rd president said. "If you have a conversation with a foreign leader and it ends up in a newspaper, you don't like it. I didn't like it."

Here's a look at the leak, an overview of how WikiLeaks works and a summary of what some of the documents say about a variety of topics.


THE LEAK

- Sunday's leak contained the first of what the site says will be 251,288 cables that it plans to release piecemeal in the coming weeks or months.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Brazil • China • Egypt • Germany • Honduras • Iran • Iraq • Kyrgyzstan • Libya • North Korea • Oman • Russia • Saudi Arabia • South Korea • Turkey • United Kingdom • WikiLeaks • World • Yemen • Zimbabwe
November 26th, 2010
08:26 AM ET

149 alleged al Qaeda members arrested in Saudi Arabia

Security forces in Saudi Arabia have arrested 149 people alleged to be members of al Qaeda, the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Gen. Mansour al-Turki, Interior Ministry spokesman, the people were plotting to kill government officials, security forces, and media employees.

"Their general motives are spreading an ideology of hate by calling others disbelievers, collecting money to finance the deviant al Qaeda group inside and outside the kingdom, easing travel for some individuals for training in destabilized places and executing criminal plots to spread chaos and insecurity." al-Turki said.

The arrests occurred over an eight-month period, and the people seized were dispersed among 19 active terrorist cells throughout the kingdom. Security forces found 2.4 million riyals (or about $600,000) among the cells.

Saudi state-run TV reports said of the 149 people, 124 were Saudi nationals. There were also Yemenis and Egyptians. The cells have external links, Turki said, a reference to al Qaeda in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
November 22nd, 2010
09:57 AM ET

Saudi king on way to U.S. for blood clot treatment

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah left Monday for the United States for treatment of a herniated spinal disc and a blood clot that is causing him back pain, state media said.

The monarch's departure had been anticipated.

"The medical team recommended that that he leaves to the U.S. to visit a spine-specialized medical center in order to complete medical examinations and for follow-up treatment," Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah said during an interview Sunday with Saudi state television. "But I assure everyone that he is in a stable condition, and that he is enjoying health and well-being, and God willing, he will be back safe and sound to lead this proud nation."

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia
October 20th, 2010
09:22 AM ET

Saudi prince jailed for life for murdering servant

A British court sentenced a Saudi prince Wednesday to the maximum penalty of life in prison for murdering his servant.

Prince Saud Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Saud was found guilty Tuesday of both murder and grievous bodily harm in the February killing of Bandar Abdulaziz.

Abdulaziz died after a severe beating left him with swelling and bruising of the brain and fractured ribs and neck. He also had bite marks on his face, ears and arm.

The prince had not denied killing Abdulaziz, but said he had not intended to do so. He did not take the stand in his own defense.

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia • United Kingdom
September 13th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Report: U.S., Saudis close to largest arms deal ever

Boeing F-15 fighter jets like these would be a large part of the reported arms deal.

The United States may be on the verge of its largest arms sale ever, a package of aircraft and weapons systems for Saudi Arabia that could total $60 billion when the final bill is done, according to a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.

If completed, the deal could also generate more than 75,000 jobs, the Journal reported.

The Obama administration is expected to notify Congress of the planned sale this week, according to the Journal report. Production would take place over five to 10 years, the Journal said.

Key components of the sale would be Boeing F-15 fighter jets – as many as 84 new ones and the refurbishment of 70 others – and helicopters including 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and three dozen Little Birds.

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia • U.S.
August 23rd, 2010
08:49 PM ET

Saudi official: Paralysis not considered as punishment

Saudi authorities backed away Monday from reports last week that a court was preparing to order a man paralyzed as punishment for paralyzing another man, allegedly in a fight.

The paralyzed man, identified by the Saudi newspaper Okaz as 22-year-old Abdul-Aziz al-Mitairy, requested the paralysis under sharia law, and, Okaz reported, the judge in the case had sent letters to several Saudi hospitals asking if they could sever a man's spinal cord.

But the Saudi Ministry of Justice denied that paralysis was ever considered as a punishment in the case, a high ranking Saudi government official told CNN.

The president of the court in the northwest province of Tabuk, where the incident took place, also disputed the reports.

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Filed under: Crime • Human rights • Saudi Arabia
April 23rd, 2010
09:54 AM ET

Lawyer hopeful accused sorcerer will avoid execution

A Lebanese man sentenced to die for "sorcery" in Saudi Arabia remains on death row but may not be executed - at least not yet, the man's lawyer said.
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Filed under: Lebanon • Saudi Arabia • World
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