Libya defence minister resigns
Libya’s Defence Minister Mohammed al-Barghathi resigned yesterday due to a crisis caused by gunmen who have besieged two ministries for more than a week, a ministry official said.
The militiamen have surrounded the ministries of justice and foreign affairs to demand the removal from public posts of former officials of the regime of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Barghathi’s resignation appears to have been motivated by a law passed Sunday that excludes former regime officials from public posts. He served as an air force commander in the Gaddafi regime.
Queen to miss C’wealth meet in S Lanka
Queen Elizabeth II will miss the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Sri Lanka in November, sending her son Prince Charles in her place, the palace announced yesterday.
It will be the first time the 87-year-old monarch has missed such a meeting since it was first held in 1971, and comes as she hands over some of her duties to younger members of the royal family.
A palace source said the decision was unrelated to the controversy over the human rights record of the host of this year’s meeting, Sri Lanka.
Philippine volcano erupts, kills 5
Four foreign tourists and their Filipino tour guide were crushed to death when one of the Philippines’ most active volcanoes spewed a giant ash cloud and a hail of rocks yesterday, authorities said.
Twenty-seven people, including at least nine foreigners, were climbing picturesque Mount Mayon when it erupted without warning, officials said.
A statement from the provincial government later said two German men and one German woman and a Spanish woman living in Germany were killed, along with a Filipino guide.
Pak prisoner in India in coma
Relatives of a Pakistani prisoner savagely attacked in an Indian jail travelled to India yesterday to visit the inmate who remains critically ill in a “deep coma” in hospital.
Sanaullah Ranjay suffered massive head injuries in a prison in the northern city of Jammu in an apparent tit-for-tat attack after an Indian prisoner, Sarabjit Singh, was fatally assaulted in Pakistan.
Ranjay, from the Pakistani city of Sialkot, was attacked by a prisoner identified as a former Indian army soldier just 24 hours after Singh’s death in a Lahore jail.
Cuba ready for spy swapping with US
Visiting Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Monday that Cuba was ready to open talks with the United States on swapping their respective nationals held for spying.
Speaking to reporters after meeting his Brazilian counterpart Antonio Patriota, Rodriguez referred to US contractor Alan Gross, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba, and of Cubans convicted of espionage in the United States.
Gross, 64, was arrested in December 2009 for distributing laptops and communications equipment to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community under a State Department contract.