WikiLeaks cables appear uncensored on Internet

Uncensored copies of WikiLeaks’ massive tome of U.S. State Department cables circulated freely Thursday across the Internet, leaving a whole new batch of U.S. sources vulnerable to embarrassment and potential retribution.

The United States, meanwhile, criticized Wikileaks for allegedly threatening national security and the safety of confidential informants.

WikiLeaks has blamed Britain’s the Guardian newspaper for the breach, saying that an investigative journalist had revealed the password needed to unlock the files in a book published earlier this year. Guardian journalists countered that it was sloppy security at Julian Assange’s anti-secrecy website which helped expose the cables to the world.

In a 1,600-word-long editorial posted to the Internet, WikiLeaks accused the Guardian’s investigative reporter David Leigh of betrayal, saying that his disclosure had jeopardized months of “careful work” that WikiLeaks had undertaken to redact and publish the cables. Leigh and the Guardian both denied wrongdoing.

LIMA, Peru

Peruvian prosecutors charge Van der Sloot with murder

Peruvian prosecutors have formally charged Joran van der Sloot with first-degree murder in last year’s killing of a university student he met at a Lima casino. They are seeking a 30-year jail sentence.

Van der Sloot was known before the May 30, 2010 killing of 21-year-old Stephany Flores as the prime suspect in the unresolved 2005 disappearance in Aruba of American teenager Natalee Holloway.

An attorney for Flores’ family, Edward Alvarez, said he was notified Thursday that formal charges were filed. He said he expected the trial will begin in October.

Prosecutors are also seeking damages of more than $70,000.


Dense cloud of bromine floats into Russian city

A toxic chemical cloud blew into a Russian city Thursday, ruining school year opening ceremonies and causing dozens to seek hospital assistance.

Officials in the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabisk blamed local railroad staff for the accident, which became apparent after a dense cloud of the chemical bromine exited a switching yard and floated into a residential district.

The highly reactive chemical was being transported in glass containers aboard a freight car. Some 10-13 gallons were spilled because of a switching mishap, Interfax reported.

Bromine is normally maintained in closed containers in liquid form because it turns into a toxic gas upon contact with air. Internet images showed a yellow brown cloud moving through Chelyabinsk streets.

Noxious bromine fumes forced the city-wide evacuation of kindergartens and, in city districts, the cancellation of Sept. 1 ceremonies marking the beginning of the school year.


— From news service reports