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Castro shows signs of recovery

By TIMES WIRES
Published April 22, 2007


HAVANA - Photographs published in Cuba's party newspaper Saturday showed Fidel Castro meeting and shaking hands with a visiting Chinese official, the latest sign the Cuban leader is becoming increasingly active more than eight months after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery. The Communist Party daily Granma reported that Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Chinese Communist Party's politburo, met separately Friday with both Castro and his younger brother, Raul, who has been filling in for his brother since July. A short message about the encounter was first read Friday night on state television and carried on official news services, and the new images of Castro were released Saturday. While he looks somewhat pale after months indoors, the 80-year-old Castro appears much stronger than the early images of him last fall, dressed in red pajamas and resting in bed while visiting with his ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

 

Egyptian convicted of spying for Israel

CAIRO - A Egyptian-Canadian man was convicted Saturday of spying for Israel and sentenced to 15 years in prison, with presiding Judge Sayed el-Gohary accusing him of selling "his country and himself to the devil." Three Israelis tried in absentia on espionage charges were also sentenced to 15 years in prison. The Egyptian, Mohammed el-Attar, 30, had pleaded not guilty.

 

Authorities seize Al-Jazeera tape

AMMAN, JORDAN - Jordanian authorities on Saturday confiscated a videotape of an Al-Jazeera interview with Prince Hassan, the uncle to Jordan's King Abdullah II and a one-time heir to the throne, in which the broadcaster said Hassan sharply criticized U.S. policies in the Middle East as "destructive." Jordan is considered one of Washington's closest allies in the Arab world. Ghassan Ben Jeddou, Al-Jazeera's bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon, interviewed Prince Hassan in Amman. Nasser Judeh, the chief Jordanian government spokesman, confirmed the confiscation but said it had nothing to do with the content of the interview.

Elsewhere

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: South Korea said today it agreed to give 400,000 tons of rice to North Korea despite Pyongyang's failure to meet a deadline to shut down its nuclear reactor. There was no precondition in Seoul's aid to the North, according to an agreement issued after overnight marathon negotiations in Pyongyang. The move was seen as a setback in South Korea's attempt to use food aid as leverage to pressure the North to honor its pledge under the Feb. 13 nuclear disarmament deal with the United States and its regional partners.

SAMDRUP JONGKHAR, BHUTAN: Thousands of Bhutanese practiced for democracy in mock elections Saturday, lining up neatly at polling stations while observers from the United Nations, India and Australia looked on in the latest step toward shedding nearly 100 years of absolute monarchy in the secluded Himalayan country. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2008.