Qaddafi to discuss Mideast in tele-conference

Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi plans to answer questions about democracy and academic freedom during a live video appearance on Thursday, the latest step in Libya's international rehabilitation since scrapping its secret nuclear weapons program and compensating relatives of airline terror bombing victims. The Columbia University conference is billed as the first major meeting of American and Libyan academics and officials in 25 years, a two-day affair that climaxes with Qaddafi's scheduled Thursday afternoon participation in a panel discussion on the prospect for the spread of democracy. On Wednesday morning a Libyan government official rejected the entrance of a peace mission comprised of Israelis, Americans, Palestinians, Iraqis, Iranians and Afghanis into Libya. The explanation given to the group was that Libya does "not allow occupiers into our country," referring to the Israeli contingent.