World briefs (12/30/12)

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75% tax rate on rich nixed

PARIS -- France's Constitutional Council on Saturday struck down the Socialist government's plan to impose a 75 percent marginal income tax rate on the wealthy, a measure that figured prominently among the campaign promises of President Francois Hollande and that had become a divisive emblem of his approach to cutting the budget deficit.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault quickly pledged that the government would reintroduce a revised version of the tax for next year to address the criticisms of the Constitutional Council, which ruled that the measure did not tax affected households equally.

The 75 percent rate was always a symbolic political gesture, as Mr. Hollande himself has acknowledged. It was to expire in two years and would have applied only to annual income above 1 million euros, or about $1.3 million, and so would have affected no more than a few thousand taxpayers.

21 missing officers dead

PESHAWAR, Pakistan-- Twenty-one tribal policemen believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban were found shot dead in Pakistan's troubled northwest tribal region early Sunday, government officials said.

Officials found the bodies shortly after midnight in the Jabai area of Frontier Region Peshawar after being notified by one policeman who escaped, said Naveed Akbar Khan, a top political official in the area. Another policeman was found seriously wounded, he said.

Subsidiaries expropriated

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- President Evo Morales nationalized the Bolivian electricity distribution subsidiaries of the Spanish energy company Iberdrola in a public ceremony Saturday.

Mr. Morales issued a decree allowing the takeover of shares in Empresa de Electricidad de La Paz (Electropaz) and Empresa de Luz y Fuerza de Oruro (Elfeo), which supply energy in this Andean nation.

Soldiers guarded the installations of the electricity distribution companies, marked with signs reading: "Nationalized."

Suspected U.S. drone kills 3

SANAA, Yemen -- Three al-Qaida militants were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen, Yemeni security officials said, the fourth such attack this week and a sign attacks from unmanned aircraft are on the upswing in the country.

The officials said the three men were hit as they were riding in a Land Cruiser in el-Manaseh village on the outskirts of Radda in Bayda province.

15 slain in Nigerian village

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Gunmen suspected to belong to a radical Islamist sect attacked a village in northeast Nigeria, tying up men, women and children before slitting their throats, killing at least 15 in the troubled region's latest attack, witnesses said Saturday.

The assault happened early Friday morning in the village of Musari on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the city where the sect known as Boko Haram first launched its guerrilla campaign of shootings and car bombings against Nigeria's weak central government.

Russia plane crash kills 4

MOSCOW -- A passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing at least four people, with another four severely injured.

Officials said there were eight people aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings that was flying back from the Czech Republic without passengers to its home at Vnukovo Airport. -- Compiled from news services

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