HEADLINES -- February 7, 2011 at 8:02 AM ET
Trial Begins for Hikers Detained in Iran, WikiLeaks Founder Assange in Court
Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal in May 2010. Photo by Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
The trial of three American hikers held in Iran since the summer of 2009 began on Sunday with two of them present in the closed trial. Shane Bauer, 28, Josh Fattal, 28, and Sarah Shourd, 32, were held on charges of spying after they crossed the border into Iran from Iraq during a hiking trip. Their lawyers have asserted the area was unmarked and they had no way of knowing they were crossing the border.
Shourd was released from prison in September on $500,000 bail after being held for 410 days. She is now in the United States and has been called upon to return to Iran to stand trial.
WikiLeaks Founder in Court to Fight Extradition
Julian Assange, founder of the website responsible for the leak and publication of classified State Department documents, appeared in court Monday to fight extradition to Sweden, where he faces accusations of sexual assault made by two women after a visit to Stockholm during the summer of 2010.
Assange has claimed that if he were to go to Sweden, he could be sent to the United States to face charges in connection with the leaked cables. Assange has been free on bail, staying at the home of a friend in Britain while he addresses his legal battles.
Claes Borgstrom, the attorney for the two women, said they have faced a smear campaign from his supporters. He told the New York Times, "[T]here are three persons who know for a fact that this has nothing to do with WikiLeaks, the C.I.A. or the Obama administration, and they are Julian Assange and my two clients."
Study Says Taliban, al Qaeda May Be Less Closely Tied
A New York University study claims that there has been disagreement and growing distance between the Taliban and al Qaeda and that the Taliban may be more amenable to negotiations than previously thought.
The material for the report drew heavily from an autobiography of Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, a Taliban negotiator between the group and the Afghan government. The authors of the study, Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, were also the editors of his book.
Tom Gregg of the Center on International Cooperation at NYU said that the Taliban is focused on Afghanistan, in contrast with al Qaeda's aim to be a worldwide organization.
AOL to Buy Huffington Post for More Than $300 Million
America Online, a stalwart of the early days of the Internet, is acquiring the Huffington Post, an online-only publication, for $315 million. Founder Arianna Huffington will remain as president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media group under the AOL banner.
AOL has increased its business holdings to include several content and news sites. It once was a main provider of dial-up Internet access.
The Huffington Post has an estimated 20 million monthly viewers. Huffington described the deal in a post on her website early Sunday.