In Brief

IN BRIEF

November 21, 2008|By FROM SUN NEWS SERVICES

U.N. to send 3,100 more troops to Congo

GOMA, Congo: The U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed yesterday to send 3,100 more peacekeeping troops to Congo, while rebels said they remained committed to a pullback from the front lines despite an army attack. British Ambassador John Sawers said the 15-nation council wants to help contributing nations "as best we can in getting troops on the ground rapidly" once they decide to help out. "Exactly how many weeks it will be, it's not clear. But this is a matter of urgency," Sawers said. Countries have not worked out who will contribute the additional troops and police. Several African nations such as Senegal, Kenya and Angola are among those that could contribute more troops, council diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are still under way.

Clinton appointment expected after holiday

WASHINGTON : An aide to Barack Obama's transition team says the president-elect is on track to nominate Hillary Clinton as secretary of state after Thanksgiving. One week after the former primary rivals met secretly to discuss the idea of Clinton becoming the nation's top diplomat, the two sides were moving quickly toward making it a reality barring any unforeseen problems. The transition aide said they have worked out financial disclosure issues that involved her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and the complicated international funding of his foundation that operates in 27 nations. The aide said the two have had substantive conversations about the post. As for the incoming administration's national security team, the aide said, possible appointments are being worked out and no formal announcements will be made before Thanksgiving.

Iraqis press debate on U.S. security pact

BAGHDAD: Iraq's parliament persevered yesterday in its debate on a proposed security agreement with the United States despite raucous attempts by opposition lawmakers to disrupt proceedings ahead of next week's vote on the deal. The measure, which would keep U.S. forces in Iraq for three more years, has a good chance of passing in the Shiite-led parliament. But the uproar created by loyalists of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr suggests that the pact could remain divisive as the country struggles for reconciliation after years of war. If al-Sadr's group and other legislators opposed to the pact lose by a thin margin in the vote planned for Monday, they might attempt to turn their anti-American message into a defining issue in provincial elections Jan. 31 and general elections late next year. His followers plan a major rally today in Baghdad to protest the security deal, which they view as a surrender to U.S. interests.

Attorney general collapses during speech

WASHINGTON: Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey collapsed during a speech Thursday night and lost consciousness, a Justice Department official said. The 67-year-old Mukasey was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where his condition was not immediately known. Mukasey was delivering a speech to the Federalist Society at a Washington hotel when "he just started shaking and he collapsed," said Associate Attorney General Kevin O'Connor. "They're very concerned." Mukasey was 15 to 20 minutes into his speech about the Bush administration's successes in combating terrorism when he began slurring words. He collapsed and lost consciousness, said O'Conner, the department's No. 3 official. Mukasey's was shaking during his speech before he collapsed shortly before 10:20 p.m. His security detail called 911. Mukasey was on the stage for 10 minutes being attended to by his FBI detail before medics arrived, according to a Justice Department official who was there. Mukasey was still breathing, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to news media. A senior law enforcement official said Mukasey appeared to be talking when he was taken away. That official also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation.

Bones of Copernicus identified through DNA

WARSAW, Poland: Researchers said yesterday that they have identified the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus by comparing DNA from a skeleton and hair retrieved from one of the 16th-century astronomer's books. The findings could put an end to centuries of speculation about the exact resting spot of Copernicus, a priest and astronomer whose theories identified the sun, not Earth, as the center of the universe. The astronomer was known to have been buried in the 14th-century Frombork Cathedral, where he served as a canon, but his grave was not marked.

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