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Ricin charges dropped

TUPELO, Miss. -- Charges of sending ricin-laced letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and others were dropped Tuesday against an Elvis impersonator from Mississippi who has said since his arrest last week that he had nothing to do with the case.

Referring to officials' questions for him about the case, "I thought they said rice and I said I don't even eat rice," 45-year-old Paul Kevin Curtis said after he was released from custody Tuesday afternoon. "I respect President Obama. I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official."

Genocide trial annulled

GUATEMALA CITY -- Guatemala's highest court on Tuesday ordered the annulment of the genocide trial against one of the Central American country's former dictators, sending the landmark case to a judge who wants it to go back to square one.

A spokesman for the constitutional Court, Martin Guzman, said the case of Efrain Rios Montt now goes back to Judge Carol Patricia Flores, who last week asked that the proceedings start over at a point before the retired general was charged with genocide.

Rios Montt, 86, is accused of responsibility for the deaths of 1,771 Mayan Indians killed during military offensives by the dictatorship that he headed in 1982 and 1983.

U.S. drops proposal

UN diplomats say opposition from France and Morocco has forced the United States to abandon a proposal to monitor human rights in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The U.S. decision clears the way for Security Council approval of a UN resolution that would extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in the mineral-rich territory for another year, the diplomats said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were private.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 24, 2013 A11

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