Lieberman charged with breach of trust
Israel's powerful foreign minister was charged Thursday with breach of trust for actions that allegedly compromised a criminal investigation into his business dealings, throwing the country's election campaign into disarray just weeks before the vote. While Avigdor Lieberman was cleared of more serious allegations against him, the indictment sparked immediate calls for the controversial politician to step down. He declined to do so during a news conference with cheering supporters, but said he would consult with his lawyers on what to do next. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also rallied behind his close ally.
Chavez recovering despite complications
President Hugo Chavez is recovering favorably despite suffering bleeding complications during cancer surgery in Cuba, his vice president said Thursday amid uncertainty over the Venezuelan leader's health and the country's political future. Dr. Julian Molina, a cancer expert from the Mayo Clinic in the United States, said bleeding is not uncommon when doctors operate in the same place multiple times to remove cancerous tissue, as is the case with Chavez.
U.S. citizen believed to be detained
A 44-year-old U.S. citizen has been held in North Korea for a month, a human rights activist in Seoul said Thursday, addressing unconfirmed reports that had circulated in the South Korean media for several days. Kenneth Bae, who runs a company that specializes in taking tourists and prospective investors to North Korea, had visited the North several times without incident before being detained in early November, according to Do Hee-youn, who heads the Citizens' Coalition for the Human Rights of North Korean Refugees, based in Seoul. The State Department has said little about the matter.
Military jets scramble in dispute with China
A Chinese military surveillance plane entered what Japan considers its airspace near disputed islands on Thursday, the Japanese Defense Ministry said, an escalation in an already tense standoff over the territory. Japan scrambled fighter jets in response, but the Chinese plane left before they arrived, according to Japanese authorities. The ministry said the plane's incursion was the first known violation of Japanese airspace by a Chinese plane since it began keeping records some 50 years ago. Tokyo lodged a formal protest with Beijing, which swiftly retorted that it was the Japanese who had encroached.
Wounded spy chief to be treated in U.S.
Nearly a week after sustaining severe abdominal wounds in a suicide bombing, the powerful chief of Afghanistan's spy agency has been flown out of the country aboard a specially equipped U.S. military transport plane for treatment in the United States, Afghan and coalition officials said Thursday. The wounds sustained by Asadullah Khalid was beyond the scope of the doctors and facilities available at Bagram Air Base, the coalition complex north of Kabul where Khalid was taken within hours of the attempted assassination last week, officials said.
Want to hail a cab? There's an app for that
New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved a plan that will let riders use their smartphones to "e-hail" yellow cabs. Under the plan approved Thursday, downloaded apps will link customers with drivers starting Feb. 15. Commissioner David Yassky says the city will lay down some ground rules to accommodate people raising their arm to stop a cab the old-fashioned way. Until now, the city has banned yellow taxis from prearranging rides.
Bill targeting stalking apps gains in Senate
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would make it a crime for companies to make and operate so-called stalking apps that operate secretly on cellphones. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., also would curb the appeal for such inexpensive and easy-to-use programs by requiring companies to disclose their existence on a target's phone. Stalking and wiretapping already are illegal, and Franken's proposal would extend the criminal and civil liabilities for the improper use of the apps to include the software companies that sell them.
Woman sentenced to life for fetal abduction
A Milwaukee woman who confessed that she tried to steal a baby by killing a pregnant woman and cutting out the full-term fetus was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no chance of parole. Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 34, had been in the deaths of 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and her fetus.