World news Brief, Friday June 22

Britain and Ecuador at standoff over Julian Assange's bid for political asylum; China asks Cambodian officials to extradite French architect with links to Bo Xilai's wife Gu Kailai; a Burmese court sentences to death two Muslim men convicted of the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman; South African couple held by Somali pirates since October 2010 released; new prime minister appointed in Greece; and more

Top of the Agenda: UK, Ecuador at Standoff Over Fate of WikiLeaks Founder

Britain and Ecuador were at a standoff yesterday over the extradition request of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who sought political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy (NYT) in London on Tuesday. Assange, facing imminent extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, is now also wanted for arrest in the UK for violating the terms of his bail agreement--along with a European arrest warrant and Interpol red notice--by seeking shelter in the embassy. Ecuador is reportedly "processing" Assange's asylum request.


"The Australian activist has betrayed the founding principles of the organization he helped create. The plea for asylum in London's Ecuadorian embassy is just the latest absurdity in a saga which has overshadowed the emergence of a vital political technology. Far from disseminating information, Assange now peddles disinformation," writes Ian Dunt for

"Assange's fear of ending up in the clutches of the U.S. is plainly rational and well-grounded. One need only look at the treatment over the last decade of foreign nationals accused of harming American national security to know that's true; such individuals are still routinely imprisoned for lengthy periods without any charges or due process," writes Glenn Greenwald for the Guardian.

"From his house arrest in the UK, he recently began to host an interview program that media critics have derided as bland; the show is broadcast by RT, an English-language network close to the Russian government--hardly a shining example of openness and democracy. That last irony may make Assange more palatable to [Ecuadorean President] Correa, whose reputation regarding freedom of speech is as poor as that of Russian President Vladimir Putin," writes Stephan Kuffner for TIME.



China Calls on Cambodia to Extradite Arrested Frenchman

The Chinese government asked Cambodian officials to extradite to China a French architect arrested in Phnom Penh last week, because of his suspected ties to disgraced politician Bo Xilai's wife (WSJ), Gu Kailai.

BURMA: A court sentenced to death two Muslim men (al-Jazeera) for the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman in western Rakhine state last month, an incident that sparked deadly ethnic clashes.



South African couple held by Somali pirates released

Greek PM appointed


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