World briefs (1/4/13)

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British rebuff Falklands bid

LONDON -- British Prime Minister David Cameron rebuffed Thursday a call by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to hand over the Falkland Islands, 31 years after the two countries went to war over the South Atlantic archipelago.

"The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there," Mr. Cameron said. "They're holding a referendum this year and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognize it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future, and as long as they choose to stay with the United Kingdom they have my 100 percent backing."

The two countries went to war in 1982 after Argentine forces invaded the Falklands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas. Tensions heightened last year, with Argentina protesting Britain's deployment of a modern warship to the region.

Weapons turned in

MEXICO CITY -- Promised that no questions would be asked, they've brought in handguns, pistols, rifles, grenades, bullets and dozens of gun replicas that may or may not have been used to spook a robbery victim.

Hundreds of people have turned in nearly a thousand weapons and at least one grenade-launcher in nine days in exchange for gifts and cash -- as well as anonymity -- in a holiday pilot program that has exceeded government expectations in Mexico's populous capital.

By Dec. 31, when the program was supposed to end, about 900 weapons had been turned in, said Rodolfo Rivera, the Mexico City police official in charge of it. His team restarted the exchange Wednesday.

Terror suspect extradited

WASHINGTON -- Police in Britain have extradited a terror suspect to the United States to face charges that he took part in an alleged al-Qaida plot to detonate explosives aboard the New York City subway system.

British authorities handed over Abid Naseer, 26, to U.S. authorities Thursday. Prosecutors want Mr. Naseer to stand trial in New York for his alleged role in a terror campaign that would have also targeted Britain and Norway.

Radio Liberty silenced

MOSCOW -- American-financed Radio Liberty, which penetrated the Iron Curtain with news of the outside world during the Cold War, has been trying to join today's information revolution -- and the static crackling around its efforts has been loud enough to reach Washington.

The radio station, funded by Congress but independent of it, has embraced a digital future, dismissing 37 journalists as it downsized just before it lost its only local broadcasting license here in November, when a 2011 law preventing foreign ownership came into effect.

On New Year's Eve, after weeks of growing controversy, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty president and CEO Steven Korn resigned, effective Jan. 25, citing personal reasons.

China Internet crackdown

BEIJING -- Several influential Chinese bloggers, activists and even a popular cartoonist have had their online microblogging accounts shut down, belying the hopes of many that the country's new Communist Party leaders might begin to relax strict controls over the Internet and free expression.

Instead, the moves against "weibo," the popular Twitter-like microblogging sites, appear to suggest the party's new leaders, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, may be more intent on reforming the economy than opening up space in the political sphere.

The closures come just days after the government imposed new rules requiring weibo users to register with their real names, which Internet freedom advocates said would lead to a stifling of the current free-wheeling debate allowed, within limits, on weibo.

-- Compiled from news services

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