Wikinews Shorts: May 20, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, May 20, 2007.

Guantánamo detainee David Hicks back in Australia

Full report: David Hicks transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Australian prison
A David Hicks supporter.
Image: Karen Eliot.

After five years in U.S. military custody, David Hicks has returned to Australia. Hicks was taken to the maximum security Yatala Labour Prison, where he will serve the rest of his 9 month sentence.

His lawyer David McLeod told reporters: "David is well and he enjoyed the trip. ... He was very glad to be back on Australian soil."

The flight in a government-charted airplane took 24 hours and is estimated to have cost 500,000 Australian dollars. According to his lawyer, Hicks was grateful to the taxpayers for paying his repatriation.

Hicks pleaded guilty before a special military court to providing material support to the Taliban. He was sentenced on March 30 to seven years in prison, but only needed to complete nine months of his penalty, which expires in December.

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US has paid Pakistan $5.6 billion in 5 years for 'war on terror'

Pervez Musharraf.

The New York Times reports that the United States are making monthly payments to Pakistan, totalling about $1 billion annually, for their efforts against Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. The so-called coalition support funds continued unchanged after President Pervez Musharraf decided to cut back on patrols along the border with Afghanistan.

"They send us a bill, and we just pay it. ... Nobody can really explain what we are getting for this money or even where it’s going," the New York Times article quotes a senior military official involved.


Olmert threatens to intensify response to rocket attacks


Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert declared that: "If the measured steps we are taking, in the political and military sphere, do not bring about the desired calm, we will be forced to intensify our response."

Olmert held Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militants responsible for the escalation in rocket attacks on Israel over the past week. Israel answered with daily bombardments on Palestine for the past six days. Meanwhile, the ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah seems to be holding, after a week of increased factional violence in Palestine.

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