Rights groups seek amnesty for Snowden
NEW YORK • Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union launched a campaign on Wednesday to push US President Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, the fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower living in Russia.
The campaign's main platform is an online petition urging Mr Obama to give Mr Snowden amnesty before his term as president ends in January. The petition at pardonsnowden.org has already been signed by high-profile lawyers and celebrities, including writer Joyce Carol Oates and actor Martin Sheen.
Brazil's ex-president Lula charged with graft
CURITIBA (Brazil) • Brazilian prosecutors charged ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday with being the "boss" of a vast corruption scheme at state oil company Petrobras, in a major blow to the leftist hero's hopes of a political comeback.
It was the first time that Lula, still Brazil's most popular politician despite corruption accusations against him and his Workers Party, was charged by federal prosecutors for involvement in a political kickbacks scheme at Petroleo Brasileiro, as the company is officially known.
Russian scientists fend off hungry polar bears
MOSCOW • Five Russian meteorologists at a remote weather station in the Arctic have fended off 10 hungry polar bears that had besieged them for two weeks, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
Station head Vadim Plotnikov said the bears were prowling outside the station, making it dangerous for them to go out to observation sites. They finally drove them off by using flares, and dogs from a research expedition, which happened to be passing by.