Clinton to be named special envoy to Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The United Nations will name former President Bill Clinton its special envoy to Haiti, his spokesman said Monday, in a move that could capitalize on the ex-president's years of involvement with the impoverished nation to burnish the international body's image there. An official announcement is expected from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Tuesday, Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said. Clinton is popular among many of Haiti's poor for using the threat of military force to oust a dictatorship in 1994.

Two Sunni leaders arrested

BAGHDAD — Iraqi government security forces arrested two prominent Sunni leaders in Diyala province on Monday, according to local security officials, leading to renewed concerns that sectarian tensions in the area could once again erupt into greater violence. One of those arrested, Sheik Riyadh al-Mujami, is a prominent figure in the local Awakening Council, a movement led by Sunni tribal leaders who decided to stop fighting the Americans and cooperate with them against al-Qaida in Mesopotamia. The Awakening movement played a crucial role in reducing the violence in Iraq over the past two years, but some Sunni leaders have complained that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has broken its promise to integrate their members in the country's security forces. They also have expressed concern that the government regards them as a threat, and that it is planning attacks on Awakening members as the American military reduces its activities in Iraq.

Countries wary of 'pandemic'

GENEVA — Dozens of countries urged the World Health Organization on Monday to change its criteria for declaring a pandemic, saying the agency must consider how deadly a virus is — not just how far it spreads across the globe. Fearing that a swine flu pandemic declaration could spark mass panic and economic devastation, Britain, Japan, China and others asked the global body to tread carefully before raising its alert. Some cited the costly and potentially risky consequences, such as switching from seasonal to pandemic vaccine, even though the virus so far appears to be mild.

Democracy leader put on trial

RANGOON, Burma — Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was put on trial behind closed doors Monday, police ringing the prison where the proceedings were held to deter supporters who claim she is being prosecuted to keep her out of politics. Despite the closed nature of the trial, a U.S. consular official was allowed in because an American, John W. Yettaw, is also a defendant. He prompted the charges by swimming to her property and sneaking into her home. Suu Kyi, her two companions under house arrest, and Yettaw are being tried together for violating the conditions of her restriction order, which bans visitors without official permission. Last week's arrest of the Nobel Peace laureate, who has been in detention without trial for more than 13 of the past 19 years, reignited criticism of Burma's military junta, and led to renewed calls by world leaders for her immediate release.


Protect Afghan civilians, Joint Chiefs chairman says

WASHINGTON — The nation's top military officer warned Monday that the deaths of Afghan civilians caught up in U.S. combat operations could cripple President Barack Obama's revamped strategy for the seven-year-old war. "I believe that each time we do that, we put our strategy in jeopardy," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. "We cannot succeed ... in Afghanistan by killing Afghan civilians." Mullen said more forces and new tactics can help the United States turn a discouraging tide in Afghanistan. He mentioned the recent disputed U.S. airstrikes in Farah province, when women and children apparently were among dozens of civilians killed. The United States says the Taliban is responsible for at least some of the deaths, but Mullen didn't spend much time defending U.S. actions. The May 4-5 incident is under investigation, and Mullen indicated that the details might always be murky.

Peterson pleads not guilty

JOLIET, Ill. — The People vs. Drew Peterson began in earnest Monday, with Peterson pleading not guilty to charges that he murdered his third wife and prosecutors asking for the judge's removal. Neither was a surprise. Peterson has denied that he had anything to do with the 2004 drowning death of Kathleen Savio, and the Will County state's attorney's office was not happy with Judge Richard Schoenstedt's dismissal of felony gun charges against Peterson late last year.

Herald-Leader wire service