East Coast Digs Out After Storm, Iran Executes Man Convicted of Spying for Israel
Travelers pull their suitcases through the snow in Times Square in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. New York City’s major airports began resuming operations late today after the heaviest December snowfall in six decades left travelers in the Northeast struggling amid waist-high drifts and blinding winds. (Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Despite improving weather conditions, many travelers across the eastern United States are still stranded as airlines grapple with the aftermath of thousands of canceled flights. There was little consolation to be found in trains or automobiles – many tracks remained covered by blankets of snow and some rental car companies were out of vehicles.
New York City’s three main airports reopened, albeit with a backlog of travelers queuing up for newly-resumed flights. Without enough seats available, airlines estimate it could take days for some passengers to reach their destinations.
Here, courtesy of the AP, is a New Jersey photographer’s timelapse video of the blizzard, which shows the 20 hour storm in 40 seconds.
Iran hanged Ali-Akbar Siadat Tuesday at Evin Prison in Tehran after finding him guilty of passing information on to Israel’s intelligence service. He was charged with “supporting the Zionist regime” and had been detained since 2008; that year Iran also executed a salesman on similar charges.
At the same prison, Ali Saremi was also executed for supporting an opposition group accused of coordinating terrorist attacks. Members of his family who protested were arrested and taken into the same prison, according to the New York Times.
Iran periodically arrests those it says are spying for Israel. According to Iran’s law, espionage is punishable by the death penalty.
Russia Calls Criticism Over Khodorkovsky Conviction ‘Unacceptable’
One day after convicting former Yukos oil chief and Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, imprisoned for the past seven years, in a second trial, Russia’s foreign ministry called criticism of its legal system from the U.S. and other nations “unacceptable,” saying “[w]e expect everyone to mind his own business, both at home and in the international arena.”. Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, were convicted of stealing from their firm.
After being held in Siberia and Moscow, Khodorkovsky was less than a year from completing his first jail term, but now faces a significant sentence on the second conviction.
In a statement Monday, the White House said “apparent selective application of the law to these individuals undermines Russia’s reputation as a country committed to deepening the rule of law.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a similar press release, saying the verdict raises concerns about “the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations” in Russia.
West African Leaders Call on Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo to Step Down
Ivory Coast’s incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, is rejecting calls from the presidents of Sierra Leone, Benin and Cape Verde – as well as a host of international leaders – to step down after being defeated by Alassane Ouattara in November’s presidential election.
There have been outbreaks of violence in the country since the disputed elections, and observers fear a worsening crisis if Gbagbo continues in his refusal to leave office. Nearly 200 people have died in post-election violence.