Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Usual Suspects
Updating a Grapevine we first told you about in June. A top "good governance" official at the United Nations who has been accused of mishandling a $2.8 million trust fund may now escape punishment because he retires at the end of the month.
Guido Bertucci is director of the U.N.'s Division of Public Administration and Development. He was supposed to use the funds to promote transparency and good government in the former Soviet republics. An internal U.N. report accused Bertucci of nepotism, favoritism, falsifying documents and obstructing the inquiry — the sort of practices he was supposed to root out.
But Bertucci's boss has so far failed to implement any forms of punishment suggested in the report. It is now likely that the investigation will go unconsidered until his retirement at the end of the month. And the U.N. does not customarily pursue actions against employees who have left its service.
The archbishop of Canterbury — leader of most of the world's Anglicans and Episcopalians — is apologizing to British Muslims for his faith.
The Daily Mail newspaper reports that Rowan Williams writes in a letter to Islamic leaders that belief in Christianity's Holy Trinity is "difficult — sometimes offensive to Muslims."
He adds, "Christianity has been promoted at the point of the sword and legally supported by extreme sanctions."
The archbishop was replying to Islamic leaders from 43 countries who sent letters last November to Christians in an effort to find common ground. Williams is calling on Christians and Muslims to work together against prejudice.
His remarks come after he sparked a firestorm of controversy in February when he suggested that Muslim Sharia law be incorporated into the British legal system.
If bad weather threatens the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, fear not. Chinese officials say they may change the weather.
Xinhua News — China's state-run media service — reports that Chen Zhenlin, vice director of the Chinese Meteorological Administration, says if there are unfavorable conditions on August 8 his department will consult with the Beijing municipal government about altering the city's weather.
He says, "Artificial weather modification could be useful when a drizzle occurs."
He added that little could be done in the case of heavy rainfall and that weather modification technology has limitations. But he says preparations to change the weather have been underway since 2003.
American lawyer David Remes held a press conference in Yemen, Monday, to highlight the plight of prisoners being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. Remes represents a group of Yemeni inmates and says they are enduring miserable conditions.
To illustrate how tough those conditions are, Remes removed his pants. The lawyer said he wanted to show what it is like for detainees when they are body-searched.
Remes told the Wall Street Journal's online Web blog Wednesday that when Muslims are forced to disrobe "that is a thousand times more cutting than a Westerner can imagine. And that's what I was trying to dramatize."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.