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LOS ANGELES: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urged US officials on Friday to leak secret documents on drone strikes, saying that the broad discretion to kill citizens showed a “collapse” in the American system. Assange, who has angered US officials by releasing thousands of secret memos, used a rare US television appearance to condemn President Barack Obama’s controversial green light to kill American citizens who conspire with Al Qaeda. “I can’t see a greater collapse when the executive can kill its own citizens arbitrarily, at will, in secret, without any of the decision-making becoming public,” Assange told the HBO talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher”. “That’s why we need organisations like WikiLeaks. I encourage anyone in the White House who has access to those rules and procedures, work them on over to us. We’ll keep you secret and reveal it to the public.” Assange spoke to host Bill Maher, a supporter of WikiLeaks, by video link from Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has been holed up since June to avoid extradition to Sweden. Britain has refused him safe passage to Ecuador.
Plane crash kills five in Belgium
BRUSSELS: A small passenger plane crashed at Belgium’s Charleroi airport yesterday, killing five people and closing the international hub used by Ryanair for six hours just as thousands of people were due to go away on holiday. The aircraft, a Cessna, had problems on takeoff and tried to return to Charleroi to make an emergency landing but crashed on the side of the runway, airport officials said. Firefighters sprayed water on the plane that was reduced to a wreck of twisted metal, with only the tail still visible, TV images showed. Airport officials said the five killed were three young children, their mother and grandfather — who was also the pilot of the private aircraft — and were all Belgian nationals.
Spanish PM publishes tax returns
MADRID: Spain’s prime minister published his tax returns yesterday in a bid to quell reports he and other conservative politicians received secret cash payments but the opposition said many questions remain unanswered. The government’s website posted tax authority documents detailing Mariano Rajoy’s income and tax payments from 2004 to 2012. The published documents showed Rajoy earned up to 147,620 euros ($197,500) per year 2004 to 2012 as a parliamentarian over the period plus income from investments. He paid 870,292 euros in tax over the eight-year period, the documents showed.
Mali hit by first suicide bombing
GAO: An Islamist suicide bomber blew himself up in northern Mali, the first such attack in the country, while rival factions of the Malian army clashed in the capital Bamako. The bomber rode a motorcycle up to an army checkpoint in Gao, the largest town in the north and only recently recaptured from the Islamists. He detonated an explosive belt, wounding one soldier, an officer said.
Russian oppn activist under house arrest
MOSCOW: A Russian court yesterday put prominent opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov under house arrest amid accusations he incited mass disorder to overthrow President Vladimir Putin, local media reported. The Basmanny court in Moscow was responding to a request by investigators who said Udaltsov was not showing good behaviour and not cooperating with the authorities. The judge said that Udaltsov could flee abroad or “try to carry out his criminal intentions”. The 35-year-old leader of the Left Front, who until now has remained under travel restrictions that prevented him from leaving Moscow, faces 10 years in prison if a probe leads to a conviction. Udaltsov denies the accusations.