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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Russia Receives Asylum Application from Edward Snowden

US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, according to the country’s Migration Service. “We can confirm that the documents have been received”, said a ministry spokesman, adding that the application would be reviewed within a three-month period. Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian human rights lawyer, said on Tuesday that he handed Snowden’s application to the ministry because Snowden himself cannot leave the international transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. “He is being pursued by the US government – that’s what he wrote, I am quoting – and he fears for his life, safety, that he will be tortured or receive the death penalty”, said Kucherena. He said Snowden was unsure if he would then travel to a third country. “Talking to me, he did not mention that he was going to move to another country after he receives asylum. It looks like he has not made a final decision”, said the lawyer, before adding that the whistleblower was “tired of living in the airport’s transit zone”.

Neo-Nazi Musician Arrested in France in Preparation for ‘Major Terrorist Act’

Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, a Norwegian neo-Nazi musician with links to Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo in 2011, was arrested by police on “suspicion he was preparing a major terrorist act” in Corrèze, in central France. Vikernes had allegedly received a manifesto from Breivik and was arrested after his wife, a French national, had bought four rifles. Officers also searched his home for more weapons and explosives. Vikernes was convicted in 1994 of stabbing a man to death in Oslo and burning down at least three churches. He moved to France in 2009 alongside his wife and three children after he was released from prison after serving 16 years of a 21-year sentence.

Mexico Detains Leader of the Zetas Drug Cartel

Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, the leader of one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels, the Zetas, was captured on Monday in Nuevo Laredo, near the border with Texas, by a task force of Mexican marines. “To give you one example, this is a person that ordered the kidnap and murder of 265 migrants in San Fernando, in Tamaulipas state”, said Eduardo Sánchez, spokesman for Mexico’s federal security apparatus. Morales, known as Z-40 within the Zetas, was captured as he travelled in a pickup. No shots were fired and two of his associates were also arrested, along with US$2 million in cash and weapons. The government spokesman clarified that Morales will now be detained and submitted to trial, but said he did not know of a possible extradition request by the United States, where Morales had a US$ 5 million bounty placed for his capture.

Argentinian Public Figures ‘Spied Upon’

Héctor Timerman, the Foreign Minister of Argentina, has given the country’s attorney general a dossier on spying activities handed to him “by a high-ranking official of one of the participating countries” at the recent Mercosur trading bloc summit in Montevideo. The document, which details supposed acts of espionage against Argentina by a non-identified nation, would also contain the names of government employees, members of Argentina’s parliament, journalists and diplomats and their respective e-mail addresses and passwords. Timerman says he was summoned to a meeting “and once there, I was presented to another official who said he was a member of his country’s security services. There was an official of a third country alongside me, who received the same information”. The leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela had used the summit in Montevideo last Friday to issue a joint declaration against US spying.

Panama Seizes North Korean Ship Carrying ‘Missile Equipment’ from Cuba

Panamenian President Ricardo Martinelli has said his country detained a North Korean-flagged ship travelling through the Panama Canal from Cuba because it was carrying “undeclared military cargo”. During his interview with Radio Panamá he said the ship was carrying “missile equipment” hidden under sugar. “Once we removed a layer of sugar we found the weapons material, the captain tried to commit suicide and the ship’s crew refused to cooperate”, said Martinelli. He later posted a photograph of what looks like a tubular container to Twitter. The president said the cargo ship would be submitted to another inspection to look for more weapons, while the 35 North Koreans on board would be detained while the ship was searched. “You cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal”, he said.

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