Washington, D.C.A Boston University professor with close ties to slain Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto is expected to be appointed Pakistan's new ambassador to Washington - a move analysts say could usher in closer relations between the newly elected civilian government and the United States. Husain Haqqani, a leading foreign policy specialist who teaches international relations, was recently appointed "ambassador at large" and adviser to the foreign affairs ministry of Pakistan. Akram Shahidi, a spokesman for Pakistan's embassy in Washington, said Haqqani's posting as US ambassador "is under active consideration" but has not been finalized. The position was left vacant by a general from the old regime who is slated to be the country's security adviser. A native of Pakistan, Haqqani was Bhutto's information minister. He was exiled more than six years ago under the government's autocratic rule and has since been in the United States cultivating close relationships with government officials, academics, and members of Congress.
Passports chief at State Dept. resignsWASHINGTON - A top State Department official responsible for passports has resigned, but the department refused yesterday to link her departure to the uproar over unauthorized peeking into the passport files of all three presidential candidates. "I wouldn't ascribe it to any individual incident," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said of the departure of Ann Barrett, the deputy assistant secretary for passport services. Last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice apologized to presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama after the department confirmed that their passport files had been compromised. (AP)
Stradivari violin sells for $1.27mNEW YORK - A 300-year-old Antonio Stradivari violin named "The Penny" sold for $1.27 million at auction in New York yesterday, Christie's said. The instrument, described as sweet and bell-like in its sound, was named after its previous owner, pianist and violinist Barbara Penny. (Reuters)
Man pleads guilty in fatal shootingsPHOENIX - One of two suspects charged in a series of random shootings that killed seven people in the Phoenix area pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of first-degree murder. Samuel Dieteman agreed to testify against his codefendant, a move that may keep him from being executed. (AP)
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