World briefs – February 8

Election officials say the final results from last month’s vote in Southern Sudan show that more than 98 per cent of the ballots were cast for independence.

U.S. to recognize Southern Sudan as sovereign in July

JUBA, Sudan — Election officials say the final results from last month’s vote in Southern Sudan show that more than 98 per cent of the ballots were cast for independence.

The results mean that Southern Sudan will become the world’s newest country in July. Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir said Monday he accepts the outcome of the vote.

North and south Sudan fought a decades-long civil war that ended in 2005 with a peace agreement that guaranteed last month’s vote. More than 2 million people died in the war between 1983 and 2005.

The two sides must still negotiate citizenship rights, oil rights and border demarcation.

President Barack Obama says the United States intends to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011.

Obama made the announcement Monday in a statement congratulating the people of Southern Sudan for “a successful and inspiring” referendum.

Obama said that after decades of conflict the image of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world. He also said it is another step forward in Africa’s long journey toward justice and democracy.


Son of judge appears in court for Bellagio chip heist

LAS VEGAS — The son of a judge made his first court appearance since his arrest in a dramatic heist that authorities say netted $1.5 million in casino chips from the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Twenty-nine-year-old Anthony Michael Carleo was not asked to enter a plea Monday to armed robbery, assault and burglary charges in the Dec. 14 heist. A judge scheduled another hearing for Feb. 23.

Carleo also uses the last name of his father, Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad.

Videos showed a motorcycle helmet-wearing robber waving a gun as he ran from the Bellagio.

Police say they can account for $1.2 million of the loot. They allege that Carleo gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars and sold some high-value $25,000 chips since the robbery.


Assange would face secret trial if extradited: lawyers

LONDON — The lawyer for Julian Assange argued Monday the embattled WikiLeaks founder would face a secret trial that violates international standards of fairness if sent to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

The leader of the secret-spilling website is fighting extradition in part because Swedish rape trials are customarily held in secret, Geoffrey Robertson said at the start of a two-day extradition hearing. Closed-door hearings would be “a flagrant denial of justice … blatantly unfair, not only by British standards but by European standards and indeed by international standards,” he said.

The British lawyer representing Sweden, Clare Montgomery, countered that Swedish trials were based on the principle that everyone deserves “a fair and public hearing.” She said that in cases where evidence is heard in private it will often be published after the trial and recited in the judgment.

Assange is accused of sexual misconduct by two women he met during a visit to Stockholm last year. Rape trials are often held behind closed doors in Sweden to protect the alleged victims.


Tunisia calls up reserve troops to quell unrest

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia’s Defence Ministry called up recently retired troops Monday as the country struggled to contain unrest that has persisted even after the ouster of the North African country’s dictatorial regime.

Tunisia has been trying to restore order since former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled into exile Jan. 14 following a month of nationwide anti-government protests.

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