Putin to meet queen, Blair during British visit
Russian leader Vladimir Putin heads to Britain this week for a pomp-filled state visit to smooth differences about the war in Iraq and promote economic ties.
Putin will meet Queen Elizabeth II in the first state visit to Britain by a Russian leader since Czar Alexander II made the trip in 1874 at the invitation of Queen Victoria.
Former President Boris Yeltsin, known for erratic behavior, was never invited, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was agriculture secretary when he went to Britain in 1984.
Besides meeting the queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace and traveling to the Scottish capital Edinburgh, Putin will meet with Prime Minister Tony Blair.
High court rejects journalist's appeal
Cuba's high court has upheld the 20-year sentence of independent journalist Raul Rivero, who was among 75 Cubans sentenced to prison in a crackdown on the opposition this year, Rivero's wife said Monday.
The prison terms ranged from six to 28 years and have been condemned by governments and human rights organizations around the globe. The Cuban government has defended the crackdown as a necessary defense against U.S. attempts to change the island's socialist system.
Blanca Reyes said her husband's defense attorney told her Monday that her husband's appeal had been rejected by the Supreme Tribunal, the island's court of last resort.
Bounty hunters, crew stay to face charges
Three bounty hunters and members of a reality TV production promised Monday to stay in Mexico to face charges connected with their attempt to capture the fugitive heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune.
The men tried to wrestle convicted rapist Andrew Luster out of his car Wednesday night in Puerto Vallarta, but police arrested the five and Luster. Bounty hunters have no special immunities or privileges in Mexico.
Authorities expelled Luster to the United States, where the cosmetics heir has begun serving a 124-year prison sentence for drugging and raping three women.
The three bounty hunters -- Duane "Dog" Chapman, his son Leland and his brother Timothy -- and television producer Jeff Sells and actor Boris Krutonog face charges of illegal deprivation of liberty.
Proposed spanking ban gains momentum
Spanking children can lead to more severe abuse, two parliamentary committees said Monday, as they urged the government to pass a law barring parents from hitting their children.
The government already has outlawed corporal punishment in day care centers and schools. But parents and guardians still are permitted to use spanking as "reasonable chastisement," putting Britain out of step with several European countries where all physical punishment of children is illegal.
Lawmakers on the two parliamentary committees -- the Health Committee and the Human Rights Committee -- found that a "reasonable chastisement" defense is too often used to excuse violent behavior that goes far beyond a "loving smack."
They said it might be hard to win public support for laws that could lead to prosecution for mild discipline.
Murder charges expected in bombing
Kenya said Monday that it intended to bring murder charges against four people for the November suicide bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel that killed three Israelis and 11 Kenyans.
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network has claimed responsibility for the Mombasa attack, which came minutes after a missile attack nearly hit an Israeli airliner that was taking off from Mombasa's airport.
The four suspects are scheduled to appear in court today or Wednesday, said Philip Murgor, Kenya's deputy public prosecutor.
The charges came after U.S. officials stepped up pressure on Kenyan authorities to arrest terrorism suspects.