News MIDDAY UPDATE: Zimbabwe opposition asks for another mediator; fugitive hedge-fund swindler in federal custody; actress Angelina Jolie's obstetrician calls news conference

Zimbabwe opposition asks for another mediator

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai today rejected an African Union decision to keep South Africa’s president alone in charge of efforts to resolve Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

Tsvangirai said the Movement for Democratic Change would not participate in talks about forming a governing accord with President Robert Mugabe’s government unless an additional mediator was appointed.

The comments came a day after an AU summit reconfirmed South Africa President Thabo Mbeki as mediator. Tsvangirai has repeatedly called on Mbeki to step down, saying Mbeki’s refusal to publicly criticize Mugabe amounts to appeasement. Mugabe has extolled Mbeki’s role.

Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round of presidential voting on March 29, but not the simple majority needed to avoid a runoff against Mugabe. Mugabe is accused of unleashing violence against the opposition to ensure victory in the second round and Tsvangirai withdrew from Friday’s vote, citing attacks on his supporters.

Mugabe held the vote anyway despite international condemnation. He was declared the overwhelming winner Sunday and immediately held an inauguration ceremony.

– Associated Press

Fugitive hedge-fund swindler in federal custody

Federal officials say fugitive hedge-fund swindler Samuel Israel has surrendered to authorities.

Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, said Wednesday that Israel is in federal custody. She would not immediately provide other details.

Israel disappeared last month on the day he was supposed to report to federal prison. Authorities found his car on a bridge over the Hudson River with the words ‘‘suicide is painless’’ scrawled in the dust on the hood.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for bilking investors out of $450 million in hedge funds.

– Associated Press

Angelina Jolie’s obstetrician to give report

Fabulous views of the shimmering Mediterranean, tufty palm trees, all bathed in a July sun. In short, a royal place for Brangelina’s twins to make their much-awaited entrance.

Angelina Jolie’s obstetrician, Dr. Michel Sussmann, who is watching over the 33-year-old actress at a French Riviera hospital where she is expected to give birth, called a news conference for later this afternoon.

Will he announce that her twins have been born? That remains a mystery; the hospital wouldn’t say.

Jolie’s partner, Brad Pitt, was seen leaving the seafront Lenval hospital this morning with one of their four young children.

The hospital announced Tuesday that Jolie had checked into its Santa Maria maternity clinic to be kept under doctors’ watch and rest before she gives birth.

A hospital spokeswoman said the births were ‘‘not for right away,’’ but spokeswoman Nadine Bauer said Jolie would almost certainly stay in the clinic until then.

– Associated Press


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