Thursday, July 8, 2010

FP morning brief 7/8

U.S. and Russia swap spies in Vienna

Top news: In the largest operation of its kind since the end of the Cold War, the United States exchanged 10 people convicted of spying for Russia for four convicted in Russia of spying for the United States. The exchange took place at Vienna's airport, where a plane from New York and one from Moscow landed next to one another and took off 90 minutes later after the swap was complete.

The ten Russian agents arrested last week pleaded guilty in New York yesterday. An 11th accused agent, known as Christopher Metsos, has gone missing after being released on bail in Cyprus.

The Russian agents being released, who were pardoned by President Dmitry Medvedev after signing confessions, are Igor Sutyakin, a nuclear scientist convicted in 2004 of spying for the CIA; Sergei Skripal, a Russia military intelligence officer convicted of spying for Britain; Alexander Zaporozhsky, an ex-colonel who may have given information that led to the arrests of American spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames; and Gennady Vasilenko, a former KGB officer whose role in the spy swap is unclear.

Internet: China has agreed to renew Google's license to operate a website in China.

  • A suicide bomber attacked a gathering of tribal elders in Pakistan, killing more than 50 people.
  • Marine Corps General James Mattis was picked to take over from David Petraeus as commander of U.S. Central Command.
  • South Korean prosecutors raided the prime minister's office over ethics allegations.
  • The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on a resolution condemning the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, but not blaming it on North Korea.
Middle East
  • Cuban activist Guillermo Farinas has ended a 134-day hunger strike after the government agreed to release 52 political prisoners.
  • The U.S. denied a visa to a prominent Colombian journalist.
  • Several central figures from Argentina's "dirty war" were convicted of kidnapping, torture, and murder.
  • A Rwandan priest charged with helping to orchestrate the 1994 genocide has pleaded not guilty.
  • The International Criminal Court has suspended the trial of Congolese militia chief Thomas Lubanga.
  • Libya has granted asylum to around 400 Eritreans.
-Joshua Keating


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