Wednesday, September 13, 2017
U.S. limits visas to Eritreans, Guineans
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The United States has stopped issuing certain visas to Eritreans and to Guinean officials as of Sept. 5, the embassies in those countries announced Tuesday.
The new restrictions are aimed at four Asian and African nations that have refused to take back citizens who’ve been deported. Under federal law, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can stop all or specific types of visas from being issued to such nations.
The U.S. Embassy in Eritrea said in a statement that it will stop issuing business and tourism visas to Eritreans, with “limited exceptions.” Eritrean officials were not immediately available for comment.
The East African nation is a major source of migrants who say they are fleeing a system of forced military conscription that repeatedly has been criticized by the United Nations and human-rights groups.
In the West African nation of Guinea, a U.S. Embassy statement said the new restrictions on business, tourism and student visas affect only government officials and immediate family members.
Ex-Auschwitz medic found unfit for trial
BERLIN — A German court has ended the trial of former SS medic who served at the Auschwitz death camp, after experts determined that the 96-year-old is unfit for trial.
Prosecutors said last month that they were seeking to end the prosecution of Hubert Zafke after two recent examinations by experts. News agency DPA reported that Neubrandenburg state court spokesman Carl Christian Deutsch said Tuesday that the defendant is no longer fit for trial because of his dementia.
Zafke in 2015 was charged with 3,681 counts of accessory to murder over accusations about his role in helping the Auschwitz camp function. His attorney says he did nothing criminal.
Zafke’s trial was marked by lengthy delays over questions about his health. In June, three judges were removed after prosecutors and attorneys representing Auschwitz victims and their families complained of bias.
Venezuela sides agree to explore talks
CARACAS, Venezuela — The Venezuelan government and opposition leaders said Tuesday that they would send representatives in response to an invitation from the Dominican Republic to explore the possibility of resuming talks on resolving Venezuela’s political upheaval.
Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas sent the invitation earlier in the day encouraging Venezuelan government leaders and opposition members to participate in a new round of dialogue.
President Nicolas Maduro responded hours later on state television, telling Venezuelans that he was accepting the invitation and sending a delegation almost immediately.
The opposition’s main coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, issued a statement warning that no new dialogue had begun but that it was sending a delegation in response to the Dominican president’s invitation to discuss conditions needed for serious dialogue.
Shifted, Stonehenge tunnel greenlighted
LONDON — British authorities Tuesday approved plans for a contentious and long-delayed road tunnel under the site of Stonehenge, but altered its route so it won’t impede views of the sun during the winter solstice.
The government said the 1.8-mile tunnel will bury a frequently gridlocked road that now runs past the prehistoric monument in southwest England.
The tunnel will “reconnect the two halves of the 6,500 acre World Heritage site which is currently split by the road, and remove the sight and sound of traffic from the Stonehenge landscape,” Britain’s Department for Transport said in a statement.
It said the revised route will be 50 yards farther from the giant stone circle than previously proposed “to avoid conflicting with the solstice alignment.”
But critics say the tunnel will disturb a rich archaeological site. Tony Robinson, host of the TV archaeology show Time Team , accused the government of “driving a thousand coaches and horses through the World Heritage Site.”
University of Buckingham archaeologist David Jacques said “the Stonehenge landscape is unutterably precious and you tamper with it at your peril.”
Conservationists, including the United Nations heritage body UNESCO, say diverting the road with a bypass would be a less disruptive option.
Stonehenge, built between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. for reasons that remain mysterious, is one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s also a spiritual home for thousands of people who visit at the summer and winter solstices.
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