AmiriThe return of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri to Iran from CIA custody has news agencies wondering whether he defected or was kidnapped by the CIA during a June 2009 hajj (Islamic religious pilgrimage) to Mecca. “Americans wanted me to say that I defected to America of my own will, to use me for revealing some false information about Iran's nuclear work," Amiri said from Tehran airport last week, claiming, "I was under intensive psychological pressure by [the] CIA.... The main aim of this abduction was to stage a new political and psychological game against Iran.”

gay pride flag in ArgentinaA wave of same-sex couples may be bearing down on the metropolis of Buenos Aires in the coming weeks and months after Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize homosexual marriage. The 33-27 vote from Argentina’s senate came on July 15 following intense debate that included appeals against the move from the country’s Catholic and evangelical leadership.

On Tuesday, July 13, the first seven of what is expected to be up to 52 political prisoners released from Cuba, arrived in Madrid, Spain, with family members on two commercial flights. Of the prisoners to be released, 20 have so far expressed desire that Spain be their place of exile.

AP and the New York Times reported on July 15 that on the previous day the Afghan government approved a U.S.-backed plan to establish local defense forces that will enable villagers in remote areas of the country to defend themselves against attacks by Taliban insurgents.

The recent easy escape and disappearance of Russian spy "Christopher R. Metsos" may draw more attention to Russia's beefed up presence of intelligence operatives throughout the Mediterranean. Metsos, the 11th person in the high-profile arrests of Russians in late June, is frequently referred to as the "paymaster" of the network of Russian agents.

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