ENGLAND

Ex-IRA chief looks ahead

IRA commander-turned-political peacemaker Martin McGuinness said Thursday he regrets “every single life” lost in Northern Ireland’s decades of violence and expressed hope that his handshake with Queen Elizabeth II would be a key building block in a new relationship between Britain and Ireland. McGuinness, who is the deputy leader of Northern Ireland’s Catholic-Protestant power-sharing administration, said his historic meeting Wednesday with the British monarch was meant to offer “the hand of friendship” to Protestants who were once his enemies. “It was a meeting which, although short in length, can I believe have much longer effects on defining a new relationship between Britain and Ireland and between the Irish people themselves,” McGuinness said in a speech to supporters at the Houses of Parliament in London.

Court blocks extradition

Britain’s High Court on Thursday blocked a U.S. government bid to extradite a sex criminal to Minnesota, saying the state’s restrictive treatment program for sex offenders was far too draconian. Judges Alan Moses and David Eady endorsed 43-year-old Shawn Sullivan’s appeal against extradition after U.S. authorities refused to guarantee that Sullivan wouldn’t be placed in Minnesota’s civil commitment program, which provides for the indefinite detention of people found to be “sexually dangerous.” Sullivan, a dual U.S.-Irish citizen, is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11-year-olds in Minnesota in the 1990s.

RUSSIA

Uzbekistan spurns pact

Uzbekistan has suspended its participation in a security pact of ex-Soviet nations, officials said Thursday, a move that reflected tensions inside the grouping. The Collective Security Treaty Organization’s spokesman, Vladimir Zainetdinov, said Thursday it received a note from Uzbekistan declaring the suspension of its involvement in the alliance. He wouldn’t comment on possible motives behind the move, and Uzbek officials couldn’t be reached for comment. The grouping also includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Compiled from wire reports.