Document: U.S. opposed release of Lockerbie bomber

American officials were dead-set against the release of the Lockerbie bomber and warned Scottish authorities that scenes of jubilation in Tripoli over his return would upset victims’ families, a newly released document showed Monday.

The Aug. 12, 2009, letter from Richard LeBaron, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in London, to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond sets out the views of the American government as Scotland grappled with whether to release Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the bombing attack on Pan Am Flight 103.

A hearing will be held this week in Washington into the circumstances surrounding the Aug. 20 release of al-Megrahi.

The senators will also probe whether an exploration deal between Libya and London-based oil company BP had an impact on the decision to release him.


First full-face transplant makes media appearance

 A Spanish man who underwent the world’s first full-face transplant appeared before TV cameras Monday for the first time since his surgery, thanking his doctors and the family of the donor.

Identified only as Oscar, the 31-year-old spoke with considerable difficulty at a news conference at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital, where he was operated on in late March.

During the 24-hour surgery, doctors lifted an entire face, including jaw, nose, cheekbones, muscles, teeth and eyelids, and placed it masklike onto the man. He has been described as a farmer who was unable to breathe or eat on his own after accidentally shooting himself in the face five years ago.


Women in Japan are atop life expectancy charts again

Japanese women are expected to live almost 86 1/2 years, topping the world longevity ratings for the 25th straight year.

The statistics for 2009 published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare showed both Japanese women and men extended their average life expectancy to new records — 86.44 years for women and 79.59 years for men.

Average life spans rose by almost five months for women and nearly four months for men compared to the previous year.

The steady increase reflects reduced mortality from cancer, cardiac disorders and strokes – the three main causes of death in Japan, a ministry official said.