• Snowden’s hopes rise on asylum offers

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    MOSCOW: Hopes have risen that Edward Snowden may finally be able to leave Moscow, where he has been stranded in an airport for 14 days, after three Latin American countries offered the fugitive United States (US) intelligence leaker asylum.

    Bolivia on Saturday became the third country to offer refuge to the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, with President Evo Morales saying he was willing to take Snowden in “if he asks.”

    The offer came not long after Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro said he would grant the 30-year-old “humanitarian asylum” and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country could offer a safe haven.

    The flurry of offers arrived after a series of rejections from many of the 21 countries to which Snowden had applied to last week for refuge.

    The WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website said Snowden had recently applied to six additional countries that it refused to name. But it was far from clear how exactly he could reach another nation from the transit zone of Russia’s Sheremetyevo airport.

    He has been stripped of his passport by the US authorities and a refugee pass initially believed to have been offered to him by Ecuador has since been declared invalid.

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